Seasonal Fare

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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.

Photograph by Joe Vaughn

> 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
Honey Glaze
  1. 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.
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. Add the chilled butter, grated nutmeg, and fresh thyme. Reduce heat to low.
  5. In another sauté pan, add olive oil. Let pan get very hot, but not smoking.
  6. Season lamb racks with salt and pepper.
  7. Sear lamb in hot pan until golden on all sides.
  8. Place lamb and sauté pan into oven; cook until medium rare (or a 15-second internal temperature of 135).
  9. Liberally brush the honey mixture over the lamb. Return to oven for about 7 minutes. Let lamb rest for 10 minutes.
  10. Taste ragout mix for proper seasoning, adding salt or pepper, if needed.
To serve
  1. Spoon ragout into center of platter. Slice lamb into “chops” and put over ragout. Sprinkle with chives.

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