Roasted Rack of Lamb with Celery Root Puree and Red Onion Marmalade


From Atlanta Cooks at Home by Mark Alba, formerly of The Food Studio (closed), now of Paces 88, CityBooks Publishing

1 medium garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 rack of lamb, bones Frenched
Kosher salt to taste

Red Onion Marmalade:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium red onions, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Celery Root Puree:
1 celery root, approximately 1 1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into rough chunks
2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Pomegranate seeds

For the lamb:
Pulse garlic, shallot, peppercorns, herbes de Provence, olive oil, and pomegranate molasses in a food processor to form a rough paste. Rub paste onto the lamb rack and allow to rest, covered, at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours or in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Preheat grill to medium-high. Wipe the rub from the lamb rack, and season with salt. Grill over a hot fire to your desired degree of doneness, 125°F for rare. For medium-rare to medium lamb, grill about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the grill, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut the rack into individual chops.

For the red onion marmalade:
Heat a 10-inch heavy saute pan over medium heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Add balsamic and red wine vinegars. Cover the surface of the onions with a disk of parchment paper and cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to very low, and allow to cook, undisturbed, for 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and keep warm.

For the celery root puree:
Combine celery root and milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, partially cover, and simmer until fork tender, approximately 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove celery root from pan, and reserve the cooking liquid. Whip the celery root with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir in the salt, pepper, and olive oil. If necessary, add some of the reserved cooking liquid to adjust the consistency. Keep warm.

To plate the finished dish, mound some of the celery root puree in the center of the plate, lean 2 chops against each other, and rest on the celery puree. Garnish with a generous spoon of red onion marmalade and a sprinkling of sparkling red pomegranate seeds.

Serves 4.