Chef Matthew Baldridge of downtown Detroit’s revived Art Deco gem, Cliff Bell’s, offers this ode to spring: a fragrant lamb dish rubbed with lavender and honey that’s the essence of the season. Baldridge says this dish — served with a ragout of pearl onions, fava beans, and new potatoes — can easily be prepared at home.
> Rack of Spring Lamb with Honey and Lavender
- 4 tablespoons organic honey
- 1/2 teaspoon lavender
- 1 clove minced garlic
- Butter and olive oil for sautéing
- 1 cup peeled pearl onions
- 1 cup peeled, blanched fava beans
- 1 cup blanched new potatoes
- 1/3 cup red wine (shiraz, zinfandel, or cabernet will work)
- 1/2 cup lamb (or beef) stock
- 3 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter
- 1 pinch fresh-grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1 8-bone rack of domestic spring lamb
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine honey, lavender, and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl and heat 30 seconds to release the flavor of the garlic and lavender. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large sauté pan, add butter and olive oil. Sauté pearl onions until slightly golden. Add fava beans and potatoes and sauté 5-8 minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Into the same sauté pan, add the red wine and let reduce by half. Add lamb stock and reduce until it’s a sauce consistency. (It should coat the back of a metal spoon.)
- Add the chilled butter, grated nutmeg, and fresh thyme. Reduce heat to low.
- In another sauté pan, add olive oil. Let pan get very hot, but not smoking.
- Season lamb racks with salt and pepper.
- Sear lamb in hot pan until golden on all sides.
- Place lamb and sauté pan into oven; cook until medium rare (or a 15-second internal temperature of 135).
- Liberally brush the honey mixture over the lamb. Return to oven for about 7 minutes. Let lamb rest for 10 minutes.
- Taste ragout mix for proper seasoning, adding salt or pepper, if needed.
- Spoon ragout into center of platter. Slice lamb into “chops” and put over ragout. Sprinkle with chives.