My Recipe Box

Roast Rack of Veal with a Lemon, Caper, and Tarragon Crust

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Serves six.

  • To learn more, read:
    Roasts with the Most
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 76

I love rack of veal, but I save it for very special occasions because it’s generally a special-order cut, and it isn’t cheap.

  • 1 6-rib trimmed (but not frenched) veal rack with the chine bone removed, 4 to 6 lb. after the chine is removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 medium red onion, roughly chopped (to yield about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs, preferably from a baguette or other firm white bread
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (grated on the small holes of a box grater or on a rasp grater)
  • 2 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
  • Rémoulade, for serving
Tip:
Buying a rack of veal: A rack of veal can be a special-order cut, so talk to your butcher up to a week in advance to be sure it’s available. Ask the butcher to remove the chine bone, which is the backbone, from the rack so that you can cut between the ribs when you carve the cooked rack. Also tell the butcher you want the rack completely trimmed but not frenched (which involves stripping away all the fat, meat, and connective tissue from the tips of the rib bones). Veal weights can range widely; ask for a smaller rack if possible.

Let the roast sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Put a roasting rack in a roasting pan or a heavyduty rimmed baking sheet. (Line the pan with foil for easier clean-up, if you like.)

Season the veal liberally with salt and pepper on all sides. Turn on the exhaust fan. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is very hot, brown the meat on all sides, including the ends, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to the roasting rack, meaty side up. Set aside to cool while you prepare the crust.

Purée the red onion, capers, lemon juice, mustard, and egg in a food processor. The mixture will be fairly loose.

In a small bowl, stir the breadcrumbs, tarragon, Parmigiano, scallions, and lemon zest. When the veal is cool enough to touch, pour the onion purée over the meat, using a spatula to spread it evenly. Some of the mixture will spill off the roast and into the pan—that’s fine. Pat the breadcrumb mixture into the onion purée on the top and sides of the rack of veal, pressing slightly to help the crust adhere.

Roast the veal until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 125° to 130°F for medium rare, 55 to 90 minutes, depending on the size of the rack. (To keep the crust from overbrowning, start checking on the roast after 30 minutes of cooking; when the crust is golden brown, tent it with a sheet of aluminum foil.) While the veal is roasting, prepare the rémoulade.

Remove the veal from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes (it will continue to cook as it rests) before carving into single chops and serving with the rémoulade. Don’t fret if some of the crust falls off the meat when you carve.

Drink Suggestions

Try a bright, intensely flavored Italian red, such as a Barbera or a Chianti Classico Riserva. Both will mirror the acidity in the lemon juice as well as the flavors of the fresh herbs.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 380; Fat (g): fat g 18; Fat Calories (kcal): 160; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 5; Protein (g): protein g 46; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 6; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 790; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 210; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I serve this at Christmas for my family and it gets top rating. This is a special dinner for a special time. It it my gift to the family. PS: I do not serve it with the remoulade as my family prefers "au jus" type sauces.

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