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It's fig season already. I don't remember eating figs back home until September, but it's been too hot here and maybe that sped up the process. My parents-in-law have a few fig trees and every year, we get more figs than we - and our friends and family - can eat. This year, I had about 16 lbs at the same time in my fridge. So, I decided to create a menu around figs including a salad of baby green with a fig vinaigrette and a dessert of almond blancmange topped with caramelized figs . But the centerpiece of the menu was scrumptious Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops in a Fig Sauce with a sunchoke and parsley root puree.
Lamb is so perfect with a sweet bite. And the figs, stewed in the wine reduction sauce, were the perfect accent. It may look complicated but it's actually easy to prepare. I started with a frenched rack of lamb that I sliced into chops, sprinkled with salt and pepper. You could also keep the rack together depending on your choice of presentation. I then seared the chops on all sides and set aside to cool before adding the pistachio crust. For the crust, I just mixed coarsely ground pistachios with a little cornstarch. Once the chops have cooled, I spread a little mixture of Dijon mustard and grated shallots on the face of the chops, then dipped it in the pistachio mixture. Place the crusted chops with the crust facing up on a sheet pan, cover and bake at 400'F for approximately 30-40 minutes or until a thermometer reads 140'-150'F for medium-rare or 160'F for medium. During the last 5 minutes, turn the oven to broil and uncover to brown the crust.
For the fig sauce, saute the shallots until soft, add the wine and the fig quarters and reduce by half, then add stock, pomegranate molasses, salt and pepper and simmer for about 15mn. Serve warm with or over the lamb.
Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops in Fig Sauce
1 rack of lamb, frenched and trimmed of excess fat
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp shallots, grated
1/4 cup pistachios, coarsely ground
1 tbsp cornstarch or tapioca starch
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper, freshly ground
1 shallot (or 3 tbsp), finely diced
4 figs, quartered *
1/2 cup Merlot wine**
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 cup beef or veal stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
* I used the Brown Turkey fig variety, but Black Mission, Black Jack, or any of your red favorite can be substituted.
** You can substitute with your favorite red wine.