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coincidence?

Recipe: rosemary lamb noisettes

I have been joined at the hip to my computer lately working on several things at once. I know some photographers will wait to process their photos after a shoot so that they can come at it with a fresh mind. I’m not one of those. I have to plow through them while my color memory is strong, but more importantly before my next shoot or else things begin to clutter together in my brain and on the hard drives. We’re finally at the Death Valley photos and I held off on those until last because it was a complete bitch to shoot. I’m only halfway through, but I thought you might enjoy some of these. It’s amazing how the same place can look so different from sunrise to sunset.


sunset over death valley

…and sunrise

those clouds plagued me for three days



There are a few more photos from Death Valley and I’ll get around to the rest very soon because I have another shoot coming up in a week.

If it weren’t for all of the chatter on Twitter and FaceBook, I would not have known that the holidays were upon us. It’s not like knowing would have changed anything. We don’t celebrate much this time of year other than a Big Dump Snow Day or an especially gorgeous and sunny “Spring” day. It’s all good by me. As it happened, I had been contacted by Annie of Lava Lake Ranch a couple of months ago about trying their organic, grass-fed lamb. These days I’m a lot pickier about reviewing products on urb because I don’t have the time and I’m not interested in shilling for something I don’t feel strongly about. So what was so special about Lava Lake Ranch Lamb? In a nutshell: 100% of their profits go to conservation and restoration of nearly 1 million acres of land in south-central Idaho. I have a soft spot for organizations and individuals who Do Good in the world and of course, Good by my standards may not be the same as yours.

I said sure, but I’d have to let her know when I had an open window of time in my schedule. The window was this week and I received via FedEx boneless lamb loin, lamb chops, and lamb shanks. My regular readers know that I’m sort of new to lamb, so I scoured the interwebs for some recipe ideas and lo and behold – everyone was talking lamb because it’s Easter weekend.


i started with the loin since we wanted a quick meal

rosemary, there is always rosemary…



Originally I was planning to use the loin to make noisettes with truffles, but truffles were not to be found. My backup plan – rosemary. The afternoon of Good Friday is apparently the worst time to shop for fresh rosemary because none of the stores had it in stock. You know, if I were still living in Southern California, I would have had that stuff growing out of my ears. But my mental catalog of everything in my refrigerator reminded me that we did indeed have some rosemary leftover in the bottom right drawer.

chopped rosemary

rosemary, pepper, and himalayan pink salt



The recipe I was referencing called for dredging the lamb in salt, pepper, rosemary, and flour. I scrunched my nose at the flour. Was that necessary? I’m sure it was good, but I rather like my food “naked” these days. Salt, pepper, and olive oil do wonders with so many foods. I yelled to Jeremy to ask what he thought. While he weighed the pros and cons out loud I declared, “screw the flour.” I was careful to trim the silver skin while keeping as much of the meat intact as possible. Lambs are so little!

trimmed of the silver skin

coating in the seasonings



Since we only had one lamb loin, I made half of the recipe which was plenty for the two of us. Don’t worry about the seasoning not sticking properly if you omit the flour (my intuition tells me that the flour would make it harder for the seasoning to stick to the lamb?) because it stuck perfectly. Into the sauté pan it went.

pan searing

slicing into medallions after a 5-minute rest



Um… this lamb was like butter, and you know how well that’s going to go over in our house. It paired beautifully with a nice Pinot – perfectly juicy and tender, yet lean. We couldn’t figure if the flavor was milder than our previous experiences with rack of lamb because of the cut or because it was organic? I’m not a huge fan of the strong flavor some lamb can have. The Lava Lake lamb was just right for both of us. All of that aside, just thinking about the topics that came up during my Food Inc. potluck made me feel good knowing that a business based on sustainable ranching practices and land stewardship is actively working to conserve the natural environment around them.

fan the noisettes to serve

better than any restaurant



Lava Lake Lamb
Lava Lake Land & Livestock, L.L.C.
P.O. Box 2249
Hailey, Idaho 83333
1.888.528.5253

Full Disclosure: I received a 9-ounce lamb tenderloin, 1-pound lamb loin chops, and 2-pounds of lamb shanks from Lava Lake Ranch with no obligation on my part.

Rosemary Lamb Noisettes
[print recipe]
modified from Cooks Recipes

16 oz. boneless lamb tenderloin (usually 2), with silver skin removed
1 1/2 tsps fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (optional – I omitted this)
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsps olive oil
rosemary sprigs

Trim any silver skin from the tenderloin and set aside. In a shallow bowl combine the rosemary, pepper, and salt (I used freshly ground pink Himalayan salt). Add the flour if you are using. Coat the tenderloins on all sides with the mixture. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium flame. When the oil is hot, add the lamb and sear on all sides for 3-4 minutes. For rare, I let the internal temperature reach 115°F. For medium rare, I think you want the internal temperature to get to 125°F. Remove from heat and let the lamb rest for five minutes. The temperature will continue to rise a bit. Slice the tenderloins into medallions and serve with rosemary garnish. Serves 4.

35 nibbles at “coincidence?”

  1. Memoria says:

    Wow. The last two photos look like they came from a magazine. Beautiful. I’m constantly impressed by your lovely photography. I also like the seasoning you used on the pork loin and how it formed a lovely crust.

    I sincerely hope you have a blessed and happy Easter!

  2. Melissa says:

    Well how beautiful is that plate?? Even better that the company does what it does. I love that you omitted the flour, I nodded my head when I read it.

  3. LizzieBee says:

    As an Aussie (and hense with a lot of experience cooking with lamb), I wouldn’t be dredging any lamb in flour unless it was being cooked in a casserole (and in that case, it would either be a cheaper cut of lamb, or mutton: and it’s mutton that has the (extra) strong flavour that I believe puts off a lot of Americans) so well done on ditching it. I mean, you wouldn’t dredge a piece of beef if you were searing it, would you? The dish itself definitely looks restaurant-like and could be in a magazine! I’m puzzled as to the opinion that, again it’s mostly Americans have when it comes to not liking lamb because of it’s strong flavour. I think it’s actually cultural, as beef was the farming animal and there just wasn’t that much lamb/sheep in America’s history. On the flip side, Australia has a massive sheep industry (ie, LOTS of wool) and it was easy/expedient for a family, or a cook on a station/farm, to kill off a sheep for Sunday dinner. Curious.

  4. Rosa says:

    Splendid lanscapes!

    That lamb dish is fabulous! What a lovely presenetation.

    Happy Easter!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  5. Pam says:

    Looks absolutely wonderful. Love the sunrise and sunset. Beautiful start to an Easter morning!

  6. Ed says:

    The milder taste might be becuase its new season lamb, which has a milder taste as its younger, and thus not as developed both in flavour and in physicality.

  7. Sharlene says:

    Your photographs are so beautiful! The lamb looks perfect.

  8. deana says:

    You are so right… it looks better than a restaurant… fabulous photos too. That lamb loin is so much easier to deal with than wrestling with a leg.

  9. Lisa says:

    Jen, the lamb is so inviting. I believe someone in our household will start making it. And soon, we will have friends over for dinner and everyone will love it.

  10. Sooshi says:

    This is beautiful! Great job :)

    (I’ve been reading for a while, I’ve just yet to say hi so hi!)

  11. Valérie says:

    Gorgeous dish! Happy Easter!

  12. Thai Massage Boulder says:

    That lamb looks amazing! I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  13. marianne says:

    I’m going to make this. Soon. Cause it looks soooooo damn good!

  14. kathy says:

    Great photos and great recipe. A feast for both eyes and my tummy. :-)

  15. Julie Ferrell says:

    Jen, this lamb looks delicious. I cook a lot of it and my experience is that organic is less game-y/lamb-y (how’s that for word creation?). The Death Valley sunset photo is breathtaking. Truly. Be well, my friend!

  16. Hailey says:

    Beautiful, Jen! That is lamb from my neck of the woods :) Hope it was as delicious as it looked!

  17. Mrs Ergül says:

    I have very little experiencing eating lamb and zero cooking them because I still ain’t sure where I can get good ones! The organic idea seems great! Lovely lovely homemade meal of good restaurant standard!

  18. Ciaochowlinda says:

    I love how you framed that last photo with a partly visible vase of tulips. The lamb looks wonderful and perfectly cooked in that pink state.

  19. Nan@tastingoutloud says:

    Your Death Valley shots are lovely! So are the lamb shots! We love lamb if it’s prepared well. In my experience, most Americans are either not familiar with lamb or really don’t want to try. Perhaps it has something to do with baby boomers growing up with Lamb Chop, the puppet? Who knows… I think it has to be prepared well. Like Lizzie Bee, I don’t think it should be dredged in flour unless it’s a shank or something like that. What are you going to do with the shanks? Great post!

  20. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Jen, I’m like you–strongly flavored “lamb-y” lamb leaves me cold. But when done well, boy is it good. Yours looks wonderful.

    Happy belated Easter, sweetie. I love the Death Valley shots…but who would expect anything less than gorgeous from you? ;)

  21. BNDQ8 says:

    lovely recipe and a very nice presenatation!! btw happy belated Easter..hope u had a great time :)

  22. Holly @ Unintended ByProducts of Domestic Bliss says:

    I don’t know what I loved more -the photos of the scenery or the photos of the lamb. Beautiful!

  23. Playin_d_fiddle says:

    Oh, your lamb-scapes are just lovely!…. ahem… pardon me… I mean, your LANDscapes are wonder-wool. *cough cough* …. WonderFUL, wonderful.. your landscapes are wonderful :) And I can’t wait to make some lamb! (Ps – I hope my comments aren’t in ba-a-a-ad taste? Ok, sorry, I’m totally done. I couldn’t help myself.) Love your blog!!

  24. Hannah says:

    your pictures are really stunning. that lamb looks to die for.

  25. MegsP says:

    What did you serve with the lamb? Are those potatoes? Lovely presentation.

  26. Alisa says:

    OOOH! that makes my mouth water – lamb is my favourite meat and organic, gently seared lamb looks like my idea of food heaven – also what did you do with the sprouts? – I am usually not a fan, but those look like they taste awesome – awaiting with bated breath for further photoshoots and more foodie inspiration.

  27. Annie says:

    Jen – these shots of the lamb loin are simply gorgeous. Just so your readers know, we think that our lamb has such a mild, delicate taste because of what it eats, not when it’s processed. Our lambs spend their lives grazing on wild, fragrant herbs, grasses and flowers from the mountains of Idaho and we truly believe that this is what makes the lamb taste so delicious!

  28. Stephanie in Idaho says:

    Aaah – Hailey lamb. The Best, as you know.

    You would LOVE Hailey. Beautiful Sun Valley is right up your alley, Jen! You really make food so beautiful, I can’t wait to try something similar. Would love to find some himalayan pink salt. Kosher will do for now.

  29. Julia says:

    I love your photos

  30. Caitlin says:

    Oh man I miss lamb – we raised sheep, so I grew up with fresh fresh fresh lamb. You can guess how angry I was when they sold the sheep and bought… goats. So yeah – this looks amazing, and now I really miss lamb :)

  31. jenyu says:

    LizzieBee – I have only had lamb a half dozen times in my life – most of it very good cuts and good quality. I am not aware of a strong flavor although it certainly is different from what I’m use to. Annie explains in the comments that their lamb has a delicate flavor because of what they eat. It was certainly mild and wonderful!

    Sooshi – thanks for de-lurking and saying hi!! :)

    Hailey – it was indeed. Great stuff!!

    Nan – I actually think the lack of eating lamb has more to do with the fact that it isn’t a dominant industry like… beef? Don’t get me started on American eating habits! :(

    MegsP – I served panfried potato slices and roasted brussels sprouts with the lamb.

    Alisa – I roasted the sprouts. It’s my favorite way to enjoy them (it’s so good and will convert lots of B Sprouts haters – recipe here: http://userealbutter.com/2007/10/11/roasted-brussels-sprouts-recipe/)

    Stephanie – It sounds wonderful.

  32. ange_mc says:

    so, what happened to the shanks? :)

  33. jenyu says:

    ange_mc – still in my freezer!

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