Prepare the salad while the lamb cooks and this lovely mediterranean-flavoured dish can be ready in an hour. If you are cooking for a big meal, a Moroccan-style eggplant salad (see bottom of recipe) would be a great accompaniment. Tip: Use the same garnish in this lamb recipe to roast a chicken - or even a whole fish such as ocean trout or salmon.
2 racks of lamb, with 8 bones
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch thyme sprigs
8 cloves garlic, skin left on
1 tsp sumac
200g tri-coloured quinoa
25ml lemon juice
1/2 cup tahini paste
juice and zest of half a lemon
100g pitted green olives, roughly chopped
100g toasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 90°C. Trim fat from the lamb and season with salt. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat. Gently pan-fry the racks until golden brown all over.
On a baking tray, make a bed of thyme and place lamb on top, along with the unpeeled garlic cloves. Sprinkle with sumac and roast for 45-50 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 54°C. Remove from oven and allow to rest somewhere warm for 10 minutes. Check the garlic; if needed, continue to roast until very soft.
Cook the quinoa in a saucepan with plenty of cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Drain off any remaining liquid and allow to cool.
Make a dressing from 25ml lemon juice, 4 tbsp of olive oil and seasoning.
In a food processor, squeeze out the puree from two cloves of roasted garlic and add tahini, lemon juice and zest, 1 tbsp of olive oil and seasoning. While the processor is running, add around 1/2 cup of warm water (depending on viscosity) in a steady stream. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add water until desired consistency is achieved.
Just before serving, mix the quinoa with olives, pistachios, herbs and lemon dressing. Carve the lamb and plate with tahini sauce, quinoa salad, and extra cloves for those who love their roast garlic.
Food photography by William meppem. Food styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Alice Story.