Chef Dustin Valette of Valette in Healdsburg, Calif., tailors this dish to the wine by adding a summery sauce of fresh red currants. Plus get the chef’s recipe and cooking tips. By Hilary Sims
Recipe courtesy of chef Dustin Valette and tested by Wine Spectator’s Julie Harans. Photo Credit Lucy Schaeffer
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. In a small bowl, drizzle the onions with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with 4 tablespoons water and add the thyme. Toss to combine. Place in a medium-size casserole dish or Dutch oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast until tender, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Remove the skin. Cut in half horizontally and set aside.
2. Drizzle both sides of the lamb with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper and rosemary.
3. Heat a large, heavy stainless-steel pan over high. When the pan is hot, add the lamb, fat side down. This will get smoky; be sure to have your vent fan on. Cook until golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and sear the other side until golden-brown, about 3 minutes more. Add the garlic cloves and half the butter to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, flipping the meat halfway through and using a large spoon to baste the lamb frequently with the butter as the butter turns golden-brown. When the lamb is cooked through (an instant-read thermometer should register 130° F), remove from the heat and transfer to a platter. Reserve in a warm spot.
4. Drain the excess fat and the garlic from the pan and set over medium-high heat. Add the cooked onions, sautéing until golden-brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to the warm platter with the lamb.
5. With the pan still over medium-high heat, add the currants and sauté until the berries start to pop. Add 3/4 cup wine and reduce with the currants until 80 percent of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 to 7 minutes. Slowly whisk in the remaining butter over the heat until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Slice the lamb into medallions. On each dinner plate, place some onions in the center. Put a couple pieces of lettuce on one side. Place a few lamb slices on top of the onions. Spoon the currant sauce on the lamb and around the plate. Serves 4.
Fresh red currants add a tart burst of summertime to this otherwise savory, roasty herbed lamb dish. With a big splash of red wine and a pat of butter, the berries cook down to become a jamlike sauce literally made for pairing with red wine. Here, Valette shares his tips on how to make the dish really shine.