Panko Crusted Rack of Lamb

What makes you happy? I’ve been thinking a lot about this question lately, mostly in a work context. Turmoil at the office has me thinking about what I want to be when I grow up. Yes, I know that by all reasonable measures I am a grown up, but I’ve always gone with the flow and let circumstances lead me rather than making real choices. Not really grown up behaviour. Circumstances have now led me to a place that makes me very uncomfortable, and I’ve realized need to take control.

When I think about what I want to do I draw a complete blank. The question seems so huge I can’t manage it. So I’m trying to frame the question differently; what makes me happy? The answer to that question tends to be little things.  A Tuesday night with friends and wine.. my yellow rubber boots.. singing at the top of my lungs in the car. And a great meal with family. The kind where everyone is there, my cousins telling the most ridiculous stories, and all of us feeling stuffed beyond belief. A staple at these meals has always been lamb, one of my favourite things to eat. This doesn’t really solve my career issues, but having lamb for dinner Sunday night did make me feel a little better. The little things will always be there, no matter what goes on in the office.

My dad usually handles the lamb, but since I planned on blogging the recipe I decided to make it myself. I did go to him for guidance though, like should it be roasted with the fatty side up or down and how will I know when it’s done? The fatty side should be up, and there’s a pretty neat trick to figuring out if it’s done if you don’t have a meat thermometer. Press the thumb and index finger of your left hand together, now with your right hand poke the fleshy part of your thumb. That amount a give is what you would feel if you poked a piece of lamb that’s cooked rare. Press your thumb to your middle finger, and that amount of give is what you would feel from medium. The next finger over is well done. Or you could just use a thermometer.

Panko Crusted Rack of Lamb

(serves 4)

(Adapted from Laura Calder and Gourmet)

  •  1/2 cups panko
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1  tsp salt
  • 1  tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 frenched rack of lamb (8 cutlets) at room temperature
  • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F
  2. Mix the panko, garlic, parsley, rosemary, onion powder,  and half the salt and pepper together. Stir in 2 tbsp olive oil to hold the mixture together. Set aside.
  3. Season the lamb with with the remaining salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil till it just starts to smoke. Add the meat to the pan, browning on each side for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the skillet. Cover the lamb with the Dijon, then press the panko mixture onto the mustard. Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes for medium rare (130 F on an instant read thermometer). Cover with foil and let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Enjoy!
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Roasted Potato and Radish Salad

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

It’s been awhile since I last participated in a Daring Cooks Challenge. The last few months have been quite hectic, and the challenges just didn’t fit into my schedule or my menu.

This month’s challenge was a different story. Potato salad is one of my favourite summer side dishes and as soon as we planned a hamburger night I knew I’d have to make some. I headed to the market to find some inspiration, but it’s still a little early in the season for most vegetables here so the only thing that caught my eye was radishes. Their bright pink colour just spoke to me.

I decided to roast the potatoes to give this recipe a twist on a traditional potato salad, and wonder what would happen if I roasted the radishes as well. I quick Google search told me that radishes can indeed be roasted. So my salad was planned. It’s quite simple, but since I was experimenting, I didn’t want to throw too much at it. My mom repeatedly requested bacon bits, as “a little bacon never hurt anyone”, but I decided to stick to the healthy aspect of the challenge. In the end, I don’t think it needed bacon, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have hurt. After roasting, the radishes lost their peppery flavour. Instead they were actually quite sweet, sort of like a roasted turnip.

In the future, I think I might do a combination of roasted and raw radish, to get both the sweet and peppery taste. The raw radish would also add a little crunch.

Roasted Potato and Radish Salad

  • 2 lb new potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 lb radishes, cut into bite size pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Toss the potatoes and radishes with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour onto a baking sheet and roast for 45 minute to 1 hour until they are cooked through and lightly browned.
  3. Let the potatoes and radishes cool slightly, then pour them into a bowl. Add the parsley and red onion.
  4. Make the dressing: Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and honey together. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad then toss to combine, making sure the salad is well dressed.
  5. Serve warm.
Enjoy!