Lamb Two Ways
When Russell Klein, chef and owner of downtown St. Paul’s Meritage, decided to feature lamb on his bistro’s menu he took the endeavor very seriously, conducting a blind taste test of lamb chops from all over the world, including some from Colorado, New Zealand, and several local farms. The winner? Lamb from a farmers’ co-op in northern Iowa. “It’s got that mineral, grassy flavor that really good lamb has,” says Klein, “and lamb fat that tastes so great it makes your knees weak.” This dish, Lamb Two Ways, incorporates various south- and north-Mediterranean flavors: The lamb rack is crusted with the Moroccan spice blend ras el hanout, and the peppers are stuffed with garlic-touched lamb—a flavor that Klein says puts him in mind of gyros. The dish is sauced with what Klein calls black olive oil, a rough sauce made with finely chopped French niçoise olives and herbs. Iowa never tasted so exotic, nor so good.