Masterchef

In her fi­nal de­li­cious. col­umn, MasterChef win­ner Elena Dug­gan bows out with a recipe that puts her own spin on a clas­sic Aussie lamb roast.

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Elena Dug­gan bows out with a clas­sic.

MY FIRST MASTERCHEF AU­DI­TION in­volved a Mys­tery Box. I cooked a crusted lamb rack with a kale salad and has­sel­back pota­toes. My main dish in the fi­nal, sev­eral months later, was twice-cooked lamb with a lay­ered sauce, macadamia onion puree and some pretty pick­led vegeta­bles. Sim­i­lar in­gre­di­ents, but a far more pol­ished treat­ment.

Lamb book­ended an in­cred­i­ble chap­ter in my life. So as I pass on the ba­ton with my last recipe for de­li­cious., I can’t imag­ine a bet­ter Aus­tralian favourite as my swan­song.

As a kid, it was a treat in our house to have crumbed lamb cut­lets (my mum made the best ones; I’m sure your mum did, too). There’s some­thing so sat­is­fy­ing about hav­ing a per­fect por­tion of meat at­tached to a con­ve­nient han­dle that pro­vides the joy of eat­ing with your hands but doesn’t ac­tu­ally leave you all that messy. Roast­ing a lamb rack is also far more time ef­fi­cient – it cooks quickly com­pared with a whole leg. A good thing once ev­ery­one smells it roast­ing and starts ask­ing, “How long un­til din­ner?”

It’s no se­cret I love green vegeta­bles; brus­sels sprouts in par­tic­u­lar. This is one of my favourite ways to en­joy them – the an­chovies act as sea­son­ing, and their dis­solved tex­ture will win over even the big­gest critic. The pota­toes are a clas­sic ad­di­tion to any roast, and the key is to not just par­boil them, but to fully cook them through to re­lease all the steam, be­fore roast­ing on high for a su­per-crispy out­side and fluffy inside.

It’s a sim­ple twist, an­other ver­sion to add to your roast lamb and veg reper­toire. No overly com­plex tech­niques here, just tasty cook­ing that ev­ery­one can achieve – de­li­cious!

LAMB RACK WITH SPROUT SALAD AND CRISPY POTA­TOES

SERVES 4-6 You will need a meat ther­mome­ter.

1kg baby chat pota­toes

1/4 cup (60ml) ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 2 x 6-cut­let Frenched lamb racks,

at room tem­per­a­ture Finely grated zest of 2 lemons and

juice of 1 lemon 4 an­chovy fil­lets in oil, drained (re­serve 2 tbs oil) 1/4 cup (50g) ca­pers in brine, rinsed, drained 500g brus­sels sprouts, shred­ded 1 cup (120g) frozen baby peas, thawed Mint leaves, to serve

Pre­heat oven to 220°C. Grease a bak­ing tray and line with bak­ing pa­per.

Bring pota­toes to boil in salted wa­ter and cook for 12-14 min­utes or un­til ten­der. Drain and cool for 5 min­utes. Trans­fer to pre­pared tray and slightly squash each po­tato. Driz­zle with 1 tbs oil and 1/2 tsp salt flakes. Roast for 40 min­utes or un­til golden.

Mean­while, rub lamb with lemon zest and re­main­ing 2 tbs oil. Heat a large oven­proof fry­pan over medium-high heat and cook lamb, fat-side down, for 4 min­utes, turn­ing half­way, or un­til browned. Trans­fer to oven and roast for 12-14 min­utes for medium-rare (a meat ther­mome­ter in­serted into cen­tre will read 54°C). Trans­fer lamb to a plate and rest for 10 min­utes.

Place an­chovies and re­served oil in a fry­pan over medium-high heat and cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, for 2 min­utes or un­til an­chovies have bro­ken down slightly. Add ca­pers and cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, for 2 min­utes or un­til they start to open. Re­move with a slot­ted spoon and drain on pa­per towel. In­crease heat to high, add sprouts and cook, stir­ring spar­ingly, for 3 min­utes or un­til lightly charred. Add lemon juice and peas, and heat through for 1 minute. Serve with lamb and po­tato, scat­tered with ca­pers and mint.

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