Rack of Lamb with Flageolet Gratin
The small, pale green kidney-shaped beans called flageolets are a classic accompaniment for lamb in traditional French cuisine.
Yield: serves 4
For The Lamb
- 2 long branches rosemary
- 8 sprigs thyme and a handful of thyme branches
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
- 2 racks of lamb (12 chops in all), fat trimmed from bones
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 head garlic, halved
For the Flageolet Gratin
- 2 small yellow onions, peeled
- 2 Tbsp. extra-vrigin olive oil
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 clove flageolets
- 1⁄2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 chille de árbol or other dried chile
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 1⁄2 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 2 Tbsp. brown butter
- 1⁄2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
- For the lamb: Mix together the leaves from 2 sprigs of the rosemary, 8 sprigs of the thyme, garlic cloves, oil, and pepper in a small baking dish, then rub the mixture all over the lamb racks. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- For the flageolet gratin: Preheat oven to 400°. Dice half of 1 onion and sauté in oil with fennel and garlic in an ovenproof pot over medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in flageolets, cook for 2–3 minutes, then add thyme, bay leaf, chile, and 3 cups water. Bake, covered, until tender, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt halfway through cooking (add more water if beans dry out). Set aside to cool (remove and discard bay leaf and chile). Leave oven on.
- Thinly slice remaining 1 1⁄2 onions and sauté in butter in a medium pan over medium heat until golden, about 15 minutes. Spread onions in the bottom of a 6'' X 6'' baking dish, then spoon in flageolets with some of their cooking juices. Toss bread crumbs with brown butter and parsley, sprinkle over beans, and return to oven for 20 minutes.
- Season lamb with salt, then sear on all sides in a cast-iron pan over high heat, with rosemary branches, broken into a few pieces, and thyme branches. Scatter onions and garlic in a roasting pan, put lamb on top, and roast in oven for 20–25 minutes. Set lamb aside to rest for 5 minutes. Remove flageolets from oven when bubbling and golden, and divide between 4 plates. Slice each rack into 6 chops, place 3 chops on top of each serving of flageolets, and spoon some tapenade over the meat.