For this dish, Corey Lee sources lamb from the Northern California coast that feed predominantly on salty grasses. He likes cooking the meat in a salt crust to echo its naturally briny edge, then garnishing the dish with succulents like sea grapes and sea beans. Baking any good-quality leg of lamb in an herby salt crust at home makes it deliciously tasty and tender, without the need for garnishes.
Rack of Lamb with Coconut-Mint Sauce and Glazed Peas
The vibrant coconut milk-based sauce Jeff Smith serves with this simple roasted lamb is a great example of his homespun Mediterranean-Asian cuisine. Substituting brown sugar for white when glazing vegetables is a trick Smith discovered during a cooking experiment: "It adds a deeper kind of sweet note."
Pairing: 2009 Vineyard 29 Cru Cabernet Sauvignon
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Roast Leg of Lamb with Red Wine Sauce
Some of the most creative new wine lists are emphatically local. Broadway East in NYC champions New York state wines, while Terroir in Portland, Oregon, supports Pacific Northwest producers; chef Stu Stein serves this lamb with a Columbia Valley Syrah.
Jason Wilson often plunders the gardens of his mother-in-law or sous-chef to get vegetables for this lovely dish. He likes to use really good, locally raised lamb from Anderson Ranch in Brownsville, Oregon, but when he's in the mood for something lighter, he serves the ragout by itself, topped with shavings of Parmesan.
Gerard Craft recommends seasoning lamb with salt and pepper, covering it with plastic wrap and letting it sit overnight in the refrigerator; simpler than brining, this method helps keep the meat succulent.