Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb for The Girl in the Glass

The Girl in the Glass, which I've just finished, is the first book by Susan Meissner I've yet read.  But not the last.  I certainly enjoyed her blending of past and present, some history of 16th century Florence and the fabulous art of that city with the lives of her central characters.  Meg has been devastated by the divorce of her parents, and when her beloved grandmother, dies, even more so.  She had been promised a trip to Florence, first by her nonna, whose home city it is, and then by her father. She  kept putting off going by herself, expecting him to take her, always trusting that eventually he would, despite his history of being unreliable.

Meg does finally get there, though not according to plan, to find her dream city all she had expected and more.  Meg is an editor for a publishing house and is able to combine work with the thrill of finally visiting Florence.  She meets a woman, she had corresponded with through the publishing company, who is writing a memoir type travel book, and who hears messages from a long dead Medici princess. Romance is involved as well as some mystery and ultimately, Meg's discovery that what we can imagine is real.

 This blend of fantasy with a character others view as slightly unhinged, is a veer off my usual type of read, so I'm thinking it qualifies as my read for the Monthly Motifs Challenge.  The motif for January being "to read a book with a character (or written by an author) of a race, religion, or sexual orientation other than your own."  As well the slightly quirky character is also Catholic, so different from me in that way.
Meg was also treated to some fabulous food during her visit -  porcini mushroom ravioli, a rack of lamb riblets with gnocchi in a cream sauce, spinach-and-feta omelet, melon, fresh strawberries and figs, were just some of the mentions.  I totally enjoy a novel that incorporates good culinary descriptions along with interesting conversation, art and beautiful scenery.  All the sensual nuances of  life help to set characters in a fully realized world.   In fact, I am the sort of reader who when confronted with a seedy, depressing setting, miserable people, sad lives and horrid action, will dump the book right back into the bag for return to the library.

What I made, my inspiration from this reading, was the herb crusted rack of lamb.  There were just two of us, so it was cut down, but here is the original, which we really enjoyed.  We had a side of Mashed Roots, parsnips,celery root, sweet potato and garlic, with caramelized shallots and rosemary on top.  Butter melted in.  And that was over the top good.

Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb
  from Williams Sonoma
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Part of the rib section, a rack of lamb typically includes 8 chops and boasts rich, tender meat. For the best flavor, roast the lamb using high heat just until it is medium-rare.
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. crushed dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. crushed dried thyme
  • 1⁄4 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 racks of lamb, Frenched
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
In a small bowl, stir together the lemon zest, garlic, rosemary, thyme and the 1/4 cup olive oil. Spread the mixture evenly over the racks of lamb, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Preheat an oven to 400ºF.

Season the lamb with salt and pepper. In a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 Tbs. oil. Add the lamb and cook until browned on both sides, about 7 minutes total. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the lamb is well browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the racks, away from the bone, registers 130ºF for medium-rare, about 15 minutes, or until done to your liking.

Transfer the racks to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Carve into individual chops and serve the lemon wedges alongside.

I am linking this with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking event as well as with the Monthly Motif Reading Challenge. Lots of good book recommendations as well as recipes.


Mae Travels said...

Nice-looking lamb chops!
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Katherine P said...

This book looks wonderful! I love a good setting too and it's hard to imagine a better one. The food descriptions had my mouth watering and your lamb chops look delicious!

Tina said...

I signed up for this challenge too and am reading Stir. I like the monthly motif guidelines and suggestions. Great selection for January and a good author and story to boot. Any story with so much food mentioned sounds great to me. Gosh, I haven't had lamb in ages but I like it very much. Lovely photos.

Beth F said...

We always have lamg in the freezer so I'm going to give this one a try soon. I love root vegetables; in fact, I have a root vegetable soup on tap for this week.

Oh that sounds like a really fun reading challenge!

Unknown said...

I also very much enjoy books where there is some sinful food indulgence involved. I think that's why I liked Eat Pray Love so much :) OMG the lamb looks Ahwesome!!! I love lamb and herbs is the way to go with it! Thanks so much for sharing it!

Tanya Patrice said...

Thanks for participating in the Monthly Motif reading challenge for January - and ooh the rack of lamb looks yummy! For some unknown reason, I rarely buy lamb at home - but I think I'll definitely need to experiment more and try this recipe.