I had a Malbec on hand, and a craving for rack of lamb. A match made in heaven.
Here's what I did to the rack of lamb. I just trimmed the fat cap as usual, but brushed it in a mixture of golden syrup, Dijon mustard, and soy sauce. What were the precise ratios? I have no idea. Mix them 1:1:1 and taste, and if you want it sweeter, add more syrup (or honey/molasses/corn syrup/whatever you're using). If you want it hotter, add more mustard, or dash in some hot sauce. If you can't make up your mind, but it doesn't taste quite right, add canned tomato sauce. Bingo. I've just taught you how to make BBQ sauce on your own. Have fun. If you bottle it and make a million dollars, at least give a little shout out to Benito on the back label.
I trussed it up with string and roasted the rack of lamb in the oven with a probe thermometer, and added another layer of glaze two or three times. Note this was all done at low temperatures. A sugar-based sauce will turn black and unappetizing in a hot oven or grill, so slow and low is your friend here. I gave it a final blast under the broiler just to caramelize the exterior, and set aside the rack to rest. The end result was as mild as veal and tender as butter, with a mouth-watering sweet/salty layer on the outside. Brother Paul provided homemade creamed spinach and grilled zucchini to accompany.
I've made a lot of racks of lamb, but I think this one is the best by far. I almost stood up and applauded myself. Perfect balance of flavors, textures, and appearance. This cut is usually served in four rib sections, or as individual chops, but for this preparation I found that carving into double ribs was fun. And the dogs were growling and begging the whole time, which is generally a good sign. (Zoe, pictured above, was well-behaved, but I saw some drool once we cut into the lamb.)
For the wine, I opened up the 2009 Redwood Creek Malbec. $7, 13.5% abv, Mendoza region of Argentina. Smoky, dark black cherry, black pepper, firm tannins, lots of jammy fruit. Great bargain Malbec, not particularly smooth or complex but good for the price point. I fell in love with Malbecs as a wine newbie because of the affordability, and I found that a $7 Malbec was far superior to a $7 Cabernet Sauvignon. Higher end Malbecs deserve to be paired with more serious meals, but the entry level ones go great with pizzas, burgers, ribs, and the rest of the great summer fare we enjoy here in the Northern Hemisphere during the April to August months.
Note: This wine was received as a sample.