Lamb Loin in Walnut Oil is the main course on this menu that includes those Grilled Oysters to start and a Roast Squab Salad. The marinade for the lamb is very simple, and because it’s primarily mild walnut oil and white wine, the flavor of the lamb really comes through.
The recipe suggests serving the lamb with a vegetable that’s been quickly sauteed in butter. Instead of chanterelles or Belgian endive, we roasted tiny potatoes in more butter than should be legal for something so beautifully simple.
Lamb Loin in Walnut Oil
from the Chez Panisse Menus cookbook
6-pound saddle of lamb
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup walnut oil
1 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
2 3-inch sprigs fresh thyme
2 medium shallots
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
½ cup lamb stock
Separate the loins and tenderloins from the saddle, and trim them completely. Season lightly with salt and pepper and marinate them in 2 tablespoons walnut oil, cup of wine, bay leaf, thyme and 2 sliced shallots for 2 to 3 hours or overnight in a cool place; do not refrigerate.
Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of walnut oil in a heavy saute pan over high heat. Sear the loins first and then the tenderloins. The meat must be seared very quickly, about 5 minutes in all. The tenderloins take about half as long to cook as the loins. Transfer the meat to a pre-heated 450 degrees Fahrenheit oven and roast for 6 to 10 minutes; add the tenderloins after 3 minutes. The meat should be rare; after 5 minutes, test it by feeling it, or with an instant-read thermometer (internal temperature should be 128 degrees Fahrenheit).
Transfer the lamb to a platter and remove the oil from the saute pan. Add the juices from the roasting pan to the saute pan and deglaze with ½ cup of lamb stock. Reduce to thicken slightly, strain, then whisk in remaining walnut oil to taste. After the lamb has rested for about 5 minutes, slices the meat and pour the sauce over it. Serve with a vegetable, such as fresh chanterelles or Belgian endive, sauteed quickly in butter.