When I was at the farmer’s market yesterday I found a plate which was begging for a show dish so here it is. Grilled lamb chop, fennel risotto, dirt (not really but a cute analog), Herbs and flowers, Raspberries, and raspberry gastrique make this beautiful and impressive plate. Remember the details are what count here. In general it is an easy dish to prepare. It just looks intimidating.
For the fennel
First thing is first. Get one hefty sized fennel bulb and trim it, slice it and dice it so you have rice sized pieces of fennel. Place them into cool water so keep them from browning. Just before service you’ll need to blanch them to make them quite white.
For the lamb
Them cut, trim, and clean the lamb rack so it is clean from sinew and meat chunks. AS a tip, wrap the bone in foil to protect the bone from the heat and muck of the grill, when finished the bone will be clean and bright white. Secondly, fold foil into fourths in a long piece, then wrap it around the meat portion of the rack and the foil will hold the meat in a nice round shape.
Oil and season the lamb liberally. When you are ready to plate grill the lamb to medium rare with the foil still on. Leave it on until it is ready for the plate.
Cook a cup of risotto rice until overdone with too much water, not soupy but sloppy. Addin the fennel scraps as well to flavor the whole thing. There is no specific amount, the rice will soak up what it does, just keep adding water as it begins to soak it in. stir regularly. This whole process should be done over medium low and should take about 30 minutes or so. When it is finished pass it through a fine mesh to the best of your ability. The result should be a smooth goopy pile of rice starch. Set this aside.
For the dirt
Toast two slices of rye bread on a low setting a few times to make it dry but not toasted. While your grill is heating up char some onion paper on it until very blacken, you know the dry skin that we usually toss out. This will be used to color the bread. Toss the bread and charred onion into a food processor with a teaspoon of caraway, put the spurs to it until it is small and chunky, like potting soil. The mixture should turn a deep brown if not black. Put the mixture in a pan and toast it on medium heat, season with salt and pepper.
For the sauce
Put a cup of raspberries onto a pan and add a tablespoon of cider vinegar, one teaspoon of sugar, pinch of salt and bring it to a simmer. Mush it and reduce until it becomes nape (coats a spoon).
Put it together
Blanch the fennel pieces and mix it with the rice goop until it resembles risotto. Season with salt.dolop a bit into the center of a nice plate.
Remove the foil from your freshly grilled rack and place it standing up in the center. Be gentle it will fall down until you start to build around it.
Add a bit of dirt.
Then random herbs and flowers, maybe a couple raspberries if you have them. Here i have Parsly, fennel fronds, dill, mint, pansies, and raspberry.
Spoon on some sauce. I am going to be honest with you a probably should have passed the sauce through a mesh, but i got a bit lazy. Sorry.
A special thanks to http://almondcorner.blogspot.com/ for being my photographic benchmark.