February brings special occasions, holidays, and vacations for many people: Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, and the school vacation week. Why not make plans for a special meal with friends and family?
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market has a wide selection, including fresh ingredients if you like to cook, or ready-to-eat food if you want to minimize your time in the kitchen but still dine on delicious, locally produced specialties.
With more than three dozen vendors at the Saturday winter market each week, one finds everything from pickles to peanut butter to pork, from cookies to cucumbers to cod.
This weekend at the market, Mary Pratt of Elihu Farm will have fresh racks of lamb. “This is not hard for the home cook to prepare, despite it being a dish that restaurants often serve,” notes Pratt. “The American Lamb Board (www.americanlamb.com) has a terrific collection of recipes and other educational materials.”
Pratt explains, “Rack of lamb is more than your summertime grilling treat. In serving rack of lamb, restaurants usually go through a time-consuming ‘Frenching’ process, to trim the meat off the top part of the bone. It’s all about presentation, but you lose a lot of good meat. For those who like to nibble on the bones, I suggest they skip Frenching. It’s a matter of individual preference.”
“This weekend, we’ll have a bunch of fresh racks available. While some experts recommend two racks for four people, depending on size, I’d say one rack could serve four people, with two chops per person. If someone prefers a larger portion, then count on two servings per rack, for a rack that’s around two pounds,” notes Pratt.
Pratt and her husband, Bob, maintain a busy schedule on their farm during lambing season. “We have at least 45 ewes that are due, and two have already had twins,” Pratt commented.
Nearby to Pratt’s first-floor location at the market are many other vendors of vegetables, fruit, dairy, and other types of meat, including free range chicken, pastured pork, and grass-fed beef. All farms and vendors are happy to offer presentation and recipe tips. Upstairs on the market’s second floor, baked goods and prepared foods provide ample selections to round out a meal.
Roast Rack of Lamb
Adapted from www.americanlamb.com
Preparation Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
2 lamb racks*, trimmed if desired
1-1/2 tsp stone ground mustard
1/2 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley*
1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves, crushed
1/4 tsp pepper
On roasting rack in shallow baking pan, place lamb rack meat-side up. Spread mustard over meat.
Combine bread crumbs, parsley, rosemary and pepper. Pat bread crumb mixture over mustard.
Roast at 375F for 30 to 45 minutes or to desired degree of doneness: 125F for rare, 145F for medium-rare, 160F for medium or 170F for well.
Let roast stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Internal temperature will rise approximately 10 degrees.