First off, merry Christmas Eve everyone!! Because of my allergies there was no feast of seven fishes or a feast of seven fish heads, but there was lamb and it was REALLY GOOD. I bought a whole rack of lamb and 4 separate lamb chops (for my dad). I Frenched the lamb just for the hell of it using a technique I learned from Marcel Vigneron where you use your knife honer and whack in between the bones. The meat came off extremely easily. After I Frenched the lamb I removed the actual loin from the bones and trimmed off the silver skin.
I seasoned the lamb loin simply with sea salt.
I threw the bones and the trimmings from the lamb in a hot pan to start my sauce. Once the lamb fat started to render it brought about a delicious scent of lamb that filled the house with joy. The only difference of flavor between beef and lamb comes from the lamb's fat. I wanted to get some good color on the lamb so the sauce would have a nice deep roasted flavor.
Once the lamb bones and trimmings were beautifully pan roasted I threw in some sliced onions, garlic, rosemary, salt, and toasted coriander seed. I let this mixture brown some more and then I added red wine vinegar to deglaze. I would let this mixture reduce until there was no liquid and then I would deglaze again. I did this a total of three times. Next, I added fresh squeezed orange juice and some water (I would have rather used a lamb stock, but I did not have). This simmered on the stove gently for roughly 3 hours.
Once the sauce was done cooking I stained it through a fine mesh sieve and whisked in a little nob of butter and a tiny bit of methycellulose (to give the sauce some more structure and body that is retained at high temperatures).
I was planning to use the gnocchi recipe from "The French Laundry Cookbook", but it did not go as planned and I am happy it did not. I first baked off Yukon gold potatoes and ran them through a food mill. There was about 550 grams of potato and I VERY GENTLY mixed it with 3 egg yolks, 2 TB of olive oil, salt, and 1/2 cup of flour in my stand mixer on my lowest speed with my dough hook for about 20 seconds until just combined. If you overwork gnocchi it becomes heavy, dry, and tough. Gnocchi is supposed to be very light.
I rolled the gnocchi dough into balls with my hands. I did not bother rolling the dough on a fork to get the classic shape because it would not affect the flavor or texture and I did not have the time.
Using my new Japanese Mandolin I thinly sliced zucchini and layered it with salt, thyme, onion, garlic, and olive oil.
I let it bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees until the outer layer was golden brown.
Getting ready to start the a la minute cooking. The water is heavily salted, it tastes like the sea. The pans are smoking hot and ready to use.
I love this picture!!! After the lamb was heavily seared on one side I added butter, rosemary, and garlic to the pan to baste the lamb. I love doing this. The fragrance is great and the bubbling butter is just mouth watering. The crackling sound of the herbs is also a highlight.
Here is the plated dish (the lamb was rested for a good five minutes before being sliced on a bias). The lamb was cooked absolutely perfectly and the sauce was plate licking good. The gnocchi were surprisingly light and delicious because of the fact I did not use a recipe or ratio to make them. The zucchini was also great and fresh.
Well now it's passed midnight.......Happy Christmas!!!!