Note: This recipe, from Chef André Rochat, André's at the Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, originally appeared in the May 31, 2011 issue of Wine Spectator, "Bordeaux Bargains."
• 2 racks of Colorado lamb, about 22 ounces each
• 1/2 clove garlic, sliced thin
• 1/4 shallot, sliced thin
• 2 teaspoons black pepper
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 scant cup wasabi powder
• 2 cups panko
• 6 ounces butter, soft
• 2 star anise pods
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
• 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seed
• 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
• 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
• Pinch cayenne
• 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
• 2 fresh bay leaves
• 1 quart chicken broth
• 3/4 cup honey
• 2 zucchini, quartered
• 1/2 red onion, sliced
• 2 leeks, trimmed and halved
• 4 small carrots, halved
• 1/4 cup dates, pitted and halved
• 1/4 cup Marcona almonds
1. Marinate lamb, covered and refrigerated, with the garlic, shallots, black pepper and oil for at least 4 hours.
2. Bloom the wasabi by mixing it with about 4 tablespoons water to make a thick paste. Stir in 5 ounces of butter and the panko, then roll the crust between parchment or wax papers to a thickness of about 1/8-inch. Chill.
3. Toast the star anise, cumin, cardamom and celery seed over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. (They will become very fragrant.) Grind with a mortar and pestle.
4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, add the ground spices, plus the five-spice powder, cayenne, ginger and bay leaves, and cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the chicken broth and honey, and increase heat to bring to a steady simmer.
5. Cook each vegetable separately in the broth, and reserve together. Reduce broth to a syrup.
6. Heat the oven to 400° F. Pull the lamb from the marinade, and brush off any clingy pieces. Cut the pieces of crust to size, and press onto the meat side of each rack. Roast in a pan, bone-side down. Roasting times will vary depending on size of racks; start checking after 15 minutes. An internal temperature of 130° F is medium-rare.
7. When the lamb is cooked, tent it with foil. Heat the vegetables, dates and almonds in the broth. Cut the lamb into chops, then divide it and the vegetables among 4 plates. Top vegetables, dates and almonds with syrup. Serves 4.