Out & About / dine
of Lamb with Spring
Vegetable Ragout and
Yields 8 servings
2 lamb racks (about 8 to 9 ribs each)
K cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 four-inch rosemary sprigs, crushed
freshly ground black pepper
K cup sugar
K cup uncooked rice or risotto
1 sachet of mint tea
1 sachet of black tea
For the Love of Lamb
Chef nick Abrams, executive chef at Hilltop 1892, grew up with a spatula in his hand. early on he picked up tips on cooking from his food-loving european stepfather in Squaw Valley and, later in life, summers in high school found him in the
kitchen at Mama’s Fish House on Maui. eventually he apprenticed for
Michel Richard at Citronelle as a student at UCSB and, after landing a
job at Rubicon in San Francisco, was inspired by head chef Traci des
Jardins’ european travels. He followed in those footsteps and spent
time cooking in Paris before returning to the United States to work at
Mill Valley’s Buckeye Roadhouse. But Abrams, now in his second year as
chef, found a true home heading up the kitchen at novato’s Hilltop 1892.
Regarding this spring dish, Abrams says it’s a definite crowd pleaser, and
you can make the chimichurri and clean and marinate the lamb the day
before you plan to serve. MIMI TO WLE
MARINATE: 1 Clean the rib bones well
by scraping off excess meat and sinew
with a small sharp knife. 2 Cut the
racks in half so that each has four ribs.
3 Mix the olive oil, garlic and rosemary
in a large bowl. a dd the lamb and coat
well. g rind some coarse black pepper
and sea salt over all.
4 Wrap well and
marinate the racks overnight.
5 n ext,
take the lamb racks out of the marinade
and pat dry of all oil and herbs.
SMOKE: 1 Combine the sugar, risotto
or rice, and mint and black tea sachets
in a bowl. 2 Make a small tray out of
aluminum foil and place the mixture
into the tray. Place the tray in the bot-
tom of a pan or metal baking dish and
put a wire rack over the pan.
the two lamb racks on the wire rack.
Cover the lamb with another pan or
with foil and place the pan onto a
medium flame, allowing the mixture
to heat and start smoking. Check to
be sure the mixture is not burning too
fast (small bubbling and charring of
the sugar will occur).
4 smoke for
15 to 20 minutes. Once done, turn
off the heat and allow to cool. While
the lamb is smoking, prepare the
mint chimichurri and blanch the veg-
etables for the spring vegetable ragout
1 Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat
a large sauté pan over medium-high
heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive
oil. 2 season the lamb well with salt
and pepper; sear fat side down until
golden, about 7 minutes.
3 t urn over
so that the fat side is up and roast in
the preheated oven for 12 minutes.
l et the rack rest for 5 minutes before
cutting. t he lamb should be medium-
4 While the lamb is cooking,
finish the spring vegetable ragout
5 t o
serve, cut each lamb rack into 4 equal
pieces, 2 bones per chop, and serve on
individual plates with the spring veg-
etable ragout and mint chimichurri.