Boiled corned beef and cabbage is tasty but it’s basically the culinary imitation of Ireland’s gloomy days on a plate. This year, let the sun shine on the lush landscape from which St. Patrick drove the snakes by savoring the traditional and tender meat of lamb accompanied by a verdant, nutty and herbaceous pistachio pesto.
1 boneless lamb loin or rack of lamb, fat cap left on
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1¼ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon plus a pinch black pepper, divided
¾ cup pistachios, toasted
1 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons warm water
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub the lamb loin with 1 tablespoon olive oil then season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Sear the lamb loin for 2 to 3 minutes, rotate the loin a quarter turn and sear for 2 to 3 more minutes. Repeat this process two more times until the loin is browned all over. Transfer the lamb loin to a sheet pan and roast in the oven for roughly 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until it reaches an internal temperature of 120 when prodded with an instant-read thermometer. Remove the loin to a cutting board and allow it to rest under foil for 10 minutes.
In a small food processor or blender, combine the toasted pistachios with the chopped parsley, lemon juice and zest, minced garlic, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of black pepper. With the blender running, drizzle in the oil and then the hot water. Scrape down the sides of the blender and process again until light green in color and smooth in texture.
Slice the lamb loin into 1-inch-thick medallions, arrange them on a platter over a smear of the pistachio pesto.
Article originally published in the Boston Herald on March 14, 2018.