Tarragon-Crusted Lamb with Goat Cheese Fondue
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR
- SERVINGS: 4
Ahhhh, spring is springing, and a young man’s thoughts turn to lamb. Let’s get the negative thinking out of the way first. Young lamb (less than about seven to eight months old) is superbly tender, not fatty or the least bit barnyard-greasy, and the younger you go, the better the product, in my opinion. If you can get milk-fed baby lamb at a farm market or via CSA or farm-direct, go for it. A whole baby rack is a single serving, but for greater quantities I roast whole baby-lamb quarters on the grill or in the oven all the time. The meat is pale pink and achingly sweet and tender. This recipe calls for one rack to serve two people, which is about three or four small chops per person. And it assumes you are buying conventional lamb that’s around eight or nine months old. That’s pretty standard.
I think lamb and goat cheese is a perfect combination. The goat cheese sauce here is a simple one that pairs beautifully with any grilled or broiled red or white meat. For years, I often made little sandwiches on toast with leftover roast leg of lamb and soft ripened goat cheese. Much later, I merged a couple of thoughts together and developed a more formal recipe at home for dinner parties. After watching our son devour the leftovers one day, I made it part of our family’s rotation during weekly meal planning. It became so popular that my seven-year-old and I even "taught" this dish together at a family-dinner demo last year at Walt Disney World. Kids love putting the sauce on the lamb, and what kid doesn’t love "meat lollipops"?—Andrew Zimmern
- 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
- 2 tablespoons dried tarragon
- 2 racks of lamb, frenched (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 2 shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
PREPARE THE LAMB
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small bowl, combine the mustard with the garlic and the fresh and dried tarragon. Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper and coat evenly with the mustard mixture. Pat the bread crumbs all over the lamb racks, pressing to help them adhere.
Set the lamb racks fat side up on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until medium-rare, about 30 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat should register 135°. Let the racks rest on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.
MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FONDUE
In a small saucepan, bring the wine to a boil with the shallots, garlic and turmeric. Simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Add the cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until somewhat thickened, about 6 minutes. Whisk in the goat cheese until smooth and season with salt. Strain the fondue through a fine-mesh sieve into a serving bowl and keep warm.
Carve the racks into chops and arrange on a platter. Drizzle some of the fondue on top and serve, passing the remaining fondue at the table.