Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb
Season rack of lamb well on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a medium skillet over high heat and, when hot, add the oil. When the oil is almost smoking, add the rack of lamb and brown well on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a plate and set aside to cool slightly before proceeding.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Using the back of a spoon, spread the mustard evenly over all sides of the lamb. Spread the minced garlic over the lamb in the same manner.
In a small mixing bowl combine the breadcrumbs and grated cheese and toss to thoroughly combine. Using your hands or a spoon, spread the breadcrumb mixture evenly all over the lamb, pressing so that the crumbs adhere to the meat.
Place the rack of lamb on a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes for medium-rare. Allow lamb to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before carving into chops to serve.
Serve with some of the Fig Chutney, if desired.Fresh Fig Chutney:
2 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 pound light brown sugar
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1/4 lemon, zested
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/4 pounds firm, slightly underripe fresh figs, rinsed, stems removed and halved
In a large saucepan combine the vinegar, sugar, onion, ginger, mustard seeds, lemon zest, cinnamon stick, salt, allspice, and cloves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until mixture is thickened and reduced by 2/3, forming a thick syrup. Add the figs and cook gently until the figs are very soft and beginning to fall apart and most of the liquid they've given off has evaporated, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the chutney to a non-reactive container and allow to come to room temperature before serving. The chutney may be made up to 3 weeks in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. (Alternately, hot chutney may be ladled into hot sterilized canning jars and processed in a hot-water bath according to manufacturer's directions.)
Yield: about 2 1/2 pints
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