Lamb Confit with Anchovy Gremolata
From Top Chef The Cookbook
Happy Lent-is-Over Day!!! Yes, I realize that is a somewhat un-Christian thing to say. Fine, happy beginning of Easter season, the season where we eat anything we want!!! I’m a little more excited than usual this year because John and I chose a particularly ridiculous set of things to give up for Lent, which I’ve been lamenting about vaguely in the last few posts. It was based on a food cleanse called the Whole3o, which has been growing in popularity. I like to take Lent to attempt “fad” diets that my patients and clients ask me about, as long as I think they are scientifically sound and safe, and after researching the Whole30 I found it intriguing. To summarize, all that we could have was meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. That leaves dairy, grains, legumes, added sugar, processed foods and a million other things on the “can’t have” list. When it came to eating out, life was 100% miserable. We would have just avoided eating out altogether, but between weddings and funerals, birthday parties and going away parties and everything in between, March turned out to be an unavoidably social month. So we suffered through endless bread baskets, pizza and pasta dinners and shared deserts, forced to order plain steak and salad at best and at worst nothing at all. The only thing keeping us sane was our tendency to cook at home as often as possible. When it came to cooking, we were on fire. We made some of our best meals over the past few weeks, including new and different meat preparations and endless uses for vegetables that we never would have tried before. And in true HMK style, we decided to go out with a bang. John poured through our gourmet cookbooks until he found a 100% Whole30 approved recipe in our Top Chef cookbook. We knew it was outrageous to buy 3 pounds of duck fat just to poach meat in, but we were bread-deprived and feeling a little crazy. Best crazy decision we have EVER made. This meal was above and beyond home cooking expectations. This was restaurant quality. Like, pay $40 for an entree with no sides at a steak house quality. In fact, at the end of the meal, John (who hated this diet from day 1 through 30) proclaimed that he would stay on it for life if he could just keep eating lamb poached in duck fat. Fair enough, sir, fair enough.
- 2 small bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems cut off, divided
- 10 fresh thyme sprigs
- 16 garlic cloves, divided
- 1 Tbsp whole peppercorns, crushed
- 1 rack of lamb, about 6-8 bones, chine bone removed, frenched
- 12 anchovy fillets
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 2-4 lbs duck fat (we only needed about 2.25 pounds of fat, but our rack was only 3/4 lbs, also, we couldn’t find that much duck fat for a reasonable price, so we used goose lard, which we found at a local butcher for $4/lb)
- Finely chop 1 bunch of parsley, the thyme and 10 cloves of the garlic. Combine parsley, thyme and garlic with the peppercorns. Coat the lamb with the mixture, cover, and place in the fridge over night.
- To make the gremolata, finely chop the remaining 1 bunch of parsley and 6 cloves of garlic and place in a small bowl. Mince the anchovies and then use the side of the knife to mash them into a paste. Add them to the parsley and garlic, along with 1/2 cup of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- The night you want to eat this delightful meal, place the duck fat in a pot large enough to contain the whole rack of lamb laid on its side. Melt the fat over low heat. Scrape the herbs off the lamb and toss them into the fat. Add half the anchovy gremolata to the fat, along with a big pinch of salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a soft boil.
- While fat is coming to a boil, heat a large saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Add the lamb and sear until well browned on both sides, 6-8 minutes total.
- Remove duck fat from heat and immediately submerge the lamb in the fat. Let the lamb sit in the fat for 30-45 minutes, depending on how rare you like it. I’d recommend using a meat thermometer. We like it pretty rare and we took it out at 127 degrees, which took about 35 minutes for our little rack.
- Pull the rack out with tongs and let it drain slightly on a cutting board lined with paper towels.
- Slice between the bones and spoon some of the remaining gremolata over each chop.