Chefs at haute couture restaurants often use the most expensive cuts of meat: Consider chef Wayne Nish's Loin of Colorado Lamb with Five Herbs, Summer Truffles and Late Summer Vegetable Pistou. To make the dish more accessible, we swapped lamb chops for the more costly boneless lamb loin and streamlined the complicated preparation as well.
This recipe was inspired by the time chef Jeremiah Tower spent cooking with culinary genius Richard Olney in France. No better appreciation of vegetables can be found than in Olney's book Simple French Food, Tower says. The vegetable combination here is only one of many, though Tower never uses more than seven vegetables and never uses tomatoes unless they are sweet cherry tomatoes.
Tom Colicchio learned to cook using Jacques Pepin's 1976 La Technique and 1979 La Methode. The books' lessons came in handy during an apprenticeship at the Hotel de France in Gascony, in southwest France. One morning, Colicchio showed up for work after a long night of drinking. "The chef took one look at me, said 'I have a job for you' and pointed at a box with a big, dead hare in it. Luckily, Jacques had written about prepping rabbit, so I knew what to do." Colicchio (an F&W Best New Chef 1991) perfected the dish below when he was working at Manhattan's Gramercy Tavern, braising the tender rabbit with sweet tomatoes, spicy soppressata and olives.