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A Recipe to Love Lamb

Chef Melissa Aust grills a springtime treat



Chef Melissa Aust

 


Lamb tends to be polarizing, an amazing accomplishment for a baby animal. Many people avoid cooking with it, either because of its pungency or the perceived complexity of working with a whole rack. While it has been a staple in Mediterranean cooking for millennia, it has never been as central to American diets. The truth is, lamb is not at all difficult to work with, and also amazingly flavorful.
 

Melissa Aust, executive chef at Stella Modern Italian, uses lamb somewhere on almost all the restaurant’s menus, but it’s a must for the spring menu every year. In fact, the salad described below is the same one she is using on the Stella spring menu this year, largely because Aust loves fennel with lamb.

“Lamb goes well with stone fruits – apricots, cherries and plums are my favorites – and my go-to vegetables for lamb are fennel, parsnips and mustard greens,” she says. “Fennel also reminds me that star anise is my favorite spice to add to red wine if I’m braising; I love the licorice with lamb.”

Aust uses lamb from Colorado or New Mexico, as a rule, but the main point is to use domestic. Lamb from New Zealand, which used to dominate the American market, is one of the reasons the meat has been so difficult to sell to American palates. “The stuff from Australia and New Zealand has a stronger game flavor,” she says, “and the fat is even more intense.”


She’s being kind. New Zealand lamb can often be smelled from 10 tables away in a restaurant, and while pungency is often wonderful in cheese, red meat that smells like dirty feet can be a tad repulsive. The fat she speaks of is in fact worse, and if you want to work with a rack of lamb, you have to contend with the “fat cap.”

“The fat cap can be peeled off, which will leave a little additional trimming,” Aust says. “Don’t trim all of it, though. Leave a little to add moisture.”

For the genuine beginner, she recommends ground lamb, as it’s widely available and can be used like any other ground meat; think burgers or meatballs. Simply use your preferred binding agents as you would for beef. Lamb is exceptionally lean, and fat acts as a binder, so you will need to add an agent or two.

When braising muscle cuts or shanks, she prefers chopped fresh rosemary and Dijon. She often adds mustard seed too, and pistachios or hazelnuts pair well for a crust. Chops are really very easy to work with, and Aust said to grill the chops to medium rare (an internal temperature of 120 degrees).


► How It’s Done

• Marinate the chops for one hour in the refrigerator using a mixture of five cloves of minced garlic, one tablespoon of minced, fresh rosemary, a quarter cup of EVOO, salt and pepper.

• Grill at high heat, approximately six minutes per side. Twelve chops will serve six. If you don’t like mid-rare, medium is about as high as the lamb will go without drying rapidly.

 

• Shave one fennel bulb. Toss your preferred greens (spinach or kale work best) with fennel, four cups of chickpeas (canned is fine), a quarter cup of sun-dried tomatoes and a good vinaigrette. Aust uses a rosemary vinaigrette to complement the marinade.

 

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January 2019

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Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. It closes with art sale - the first big party of the year with cocktails, tastemakers and the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

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Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

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Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
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View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. It closes with art sale - the first big party of the year with cocktails, tastemakers and the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
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View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
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View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. It closes with art sale - the first big party of the year with cocktails, tastemakers and the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
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View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
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View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. It closes with art sale - the first big party of the year with cocktails, tastemakers and the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

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Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
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More information

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Where:
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1 Nature Place
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View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

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Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
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View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. It closes with art sale - the first big party of the year with cocktails, tastemakers and the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
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Telephone: 405.951.0000
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Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

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Where:
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1 Nature Place
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View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
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1700 Northeast 63rd Street
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View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
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Cost: $59.95

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