Lamb with Roasted Red Pepper Salsa
Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour | Ready time: 1 hour plus 20 minutes
Dress up a rack of lamb with this aromatic spice blend of cumin and cinnamon, paired with golden raisins, olives, and fresh cilantro, and you will send your taste buds soaring. This is Mediterranean fare at its headiest and most seductive—great for a dimly lit dinner for two. Use it to embellish grilled chicken, halibut, swordfish, or Chilean sea bass for an equally satiating flavor punch.
For Red Pepper Salsa:
2 large red bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped pitted green olives
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro1/2 teaspoon orange zest
Juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 rack of lamb (about 7 ribs)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut 1/4-inch slices off the tops and bottoms of 2 medium peppers. Remove the stem from the top pieces. Pull the core out of the center of each pepper. Make a slit down one side of each pepper and lay flat, skin-side down. Using a sharp knife, remove the ribs and seeds. Arrange the pepper pieces, skin-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Press gently to flatten the peppers. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and brush evenly onto the peppers. Roast until the peppers are soft and caramelized, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes, then peel and chop.
Increase heat to 450° F. Make sure rack is in center position.
Combine the bell peppers, olives, golden raisins, red onion, cilantro, orange zest, and orange juice in a small bowl. Season with kosher salt to taste.
Put 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil in a small heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add half of the spice mixture to the bell pepper mixture. Brush the remaining spice mixture on the lamb and season all over with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, heavy, oven-proof skillet over high heat. We love cast iron. Sear rack of lamb for 1-2 minutes on all sides. Set aside for a few minutes. Cover the ends of the bones with foil to prevent charring.
Arrange the rack, bone side down in the skillet. Roast the lamb in preheated oven for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness you want. With a meat thermometer, take a reading in the center of the meat after 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the meat, or let it cook longer, to your taste. Let it rest for 5 to 7 minutes, loosely covered, before carving between the ribs. Serve with red pepper salsa.
Although we enjoy the convenience of jarred roasted red bell peppers, when time allows, we prefer to roast our own.
The red pepper salsa can be made a day in advance. We like to double the recipe in order to have extra throughout the week. Cover and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before serving. The lamb can be brushed with the spice mixture and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance.
Remove the lamb from the oven when the internal temperature is 5 to 10 degrees less than you like, because the meat will continue to cook while it sits. Bloody rare: 115 to 125 degrees F. Rare: 125 to 130 degrees F. Medium rare: 130 to 140 degrees F. Medium: 140 to 150 degrees F.