Chef Teage Ezard teams lamb with pomegranate in this Middle Eastern inspired recipe. The pomegranate adds a sharp fruity sweetness that cuts through the richness of the lamb and eggplant. A fantastic main course full of spice, texture and flavour.
For the lamb
- 200 g caul fat
- 6 x 200 glamb racks
- 200 ml pomegranate molasses (see Note)
- ¼ cup sumac
For the grenadine syrup
- 100 ml pomegranate juice (see Note)
- 200 g white sugar
- 200 ml water
For the baba ghanouj
- 2 eggplant
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 lemons juiced
- salt and pepper
For the salad
- ½ cup chervil
- ¼ cup dill
- ¼ cup chives
- 1 small red or Spanish onion
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp Persian feta (see Note)
For the eggplant fritters
- 1 eggplant
- 20 g flour
- 1 quantity beer batter
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Draining time 2–3 hours
Resting time 8 minutes
To prepare the lamb, lay the caul fat flat on a chopping board and cut pieces big enough to wrap each lamb rack tightly. Place the meat in the centre of the caul and fold the ends into the centre to form a neat parcel. Store in the fridge until needed.
To make the grenadine syrup, combine all of the ingredients in a small pot (1 litre capacity is best). Place over low heat, stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce by half, making sure that you brush the insides of the pot with water to stop it crystallising. Store the grenadine syrup in a plastic container and store in the fridge until needed.
To make the baba ganouj, prick each eggplant with a fork (to cook faster and release the water content) and wrap in tin foil. Cook over a burner or bbq until soft in the middle (about 4–8 minutes). Peel and place in a colander for 2–3 hours to drain the bitter liquid.
Peel and finely crush the garlic. Place in a food processor with the tahini and blitz until smooth and creamy. It may need a little hot water to make it smooth. Add the cooked eggplant flesh (discard the skin) and blend till smooth. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper and store in the fridge.
To prepare the salad ingredients. Pick off the chervil and dill leaves, and dice the chives into 2 cm lengths. Wash and store in the fridge in a airtight container. Peel and slice the onion into thin rings. Peel, segment and dice the lemon and store in the fridge until needed.
To make the eggplant fritters, slice the eggplant into 12 rounds (skin on) as thinly as possible. Place vegetable oil in a medium pot (3 litre capcity is best) ensuring it is no more than ⅓ full. Heat to 180ºC. Dust the eggplant discs with flour, shake off any excess and coat with batter. Fry in batches until golden brown on each side (about 1–2 minutes each side), remove from the hot oil and drain on absorbent paper.
To serve, preheat oven to 200ºC. Heat a large oven-proof skillet over high heat until smoking. Lightly oil and season the lamb racks, then add to the skillet meat side down. Seal for 1–2 minutes and transfer the pan to the oven for 12–15 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 8 minutes in a warm place.
In the centre of six plates spoon the baba ghanouj to make a circle in the centre, around the outside put a swirl of pomegranate molasses and the grenadine syrup.
In a large bowl, place equal amounts of each salad ingredient and toss lightly. Once the lamb has been rested, roll the lamb racks in the sumac and carve into cutlets. Place them on the baba ghanouj with the bones pointing outwards. Put a small handful of salad on top of the lamb, then one eggplant fritter and serve.
• Pomegranate molasses is a thick, dark caramelised reduction of pomegranate juice and is available in most Middle Eastern stores.
• The thickish sweetened cordial made from pomegranates is known as grenadine and you can buy it already prepared.
• Persian feta is a soft feta marinated in olive oil (substitute with any fresh goat’s curd or mild feta)