lamb in clay black lime pistachio

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lamb in clay black lime pistachioWe cook this lamb rack in a clay made from Calistoga ash, and then after showing the guest the entombed rack, we return with the lamb chop surrounded with what looks like shards and remnants of the cooked clay. This “clay” is actually a dried meringue made from pureed pistachios and dried lime.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 320 grams | 1 ⅓ cups water
  • 60 grams | 2 ounces dried black lime
  • 250 grams | about 2 cups pistachios
  • 600 grams | 2 ½ cups water
  • 320 grams | 1 cup plus 5 tablespoons black lime stock
  • 80 grams | ¾ cup egg white powder
  • 6 5 grams | about 2 sheets bronze gelatin, bloomed in ice water
  • and wrung gently of excess water
  • 80 grams | ⅓ cup sugar
  • 27 grams | 2 tablespoons vegetable ash
  • kosher salt
  • 1 | lamb rack, 4-rib bone portion
  • 750 grams | 3 ½ cups Calistoga clay
  • 25 grams | 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 19 grams | 3 tablespoons shabazi spice
  • 30 grams | about 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Twin Sisters olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt
How to Make It
  1. FOR THE BLACK LIME STOCK: Prepare an ice bath. Combine the water and black lime in a small saucepan over high heat, heat to 140°F (60°C), cover, and simmer at that temperature for 1 hour. Strain the stock into a bowl, then nest the bowl in the ice bath to cool the stock. Store the stock in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. FOR THE PISTACHIO CLAY: Combine the pistachios and water in a saucepan over low heat, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes to tenderize the pistachios. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath. When the pistachios are ready, drain them, reserve the liquid, and transfer the nuts to a blender. Mix on high speed for about 30 seconds, until a smooth puree forms. Add cooking liquid as needed to get the right consistency. Strain the puree through a chinois into a bowl, then nest the bowl in the ice bath to cool the puree.
  3. Combine 240 grams (1 cup) of the black lime stock and the egg white powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Mix on low speed just to incorporate the egg whites into the liquid. Meanwhile, combine 40 grams (2½ tablespoons) of the stock with the gelatin in a small saucepan over low heat and heat just until the gelatin melts. Set the pan aside. Combine the remaining 40 grams (2 ½ tablespoons) of stock and the sugar in a second small saucepan and place over high heat to form a syrup. Do not agitate the pan too much or the sugar will crystallize. Increase the mixer speed to high and monitor the temperature of the syrup. Once it reaches 243°F (117°C), slowly pour the syrup into the whipping whites, being careful not to trap the sugar on the sides of the bowl. When all of the syrup has been added, carefully pour in the melted gelatin mixture and continue whipping to cool the now-formed meringue slightly. Turn off the mixer. Measure about 60 grams (¼ cup) of the pistachio puree and fold it and the vegetable ash into the meringue. Season the meringue with salt.
  4. Spread the meringue on an acetate sheet in an even layer ½ inch (12 millimeters) thick. Transfer the sheet to a dehydrator tray and dehydrate the meringue at 135°F (57°C) for 14 hours, until dry and crispy. Break into small pieces and hold in the dehydrator at 135°F (57°C) until needed.
  5. FOR THE LAMB: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Trim and french the lamb rack. Season on all sides with kosher salt. Spray two sheets of parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the soften. Add the lamb jus and continue cooking for 4 minutes longer, until the eggplant is completely glazed with the jus and the cooking liquid has reduced. Transfer the eggplant to a blender and mix on high speed for 3 minutes, slowly adding about 30 grams (2 ½ tablespoons) of the nigella oil. Reserve the remaining oil for garnish. Strain the eggplant through a chinois into a bowl and season with salt. Hold warm until needed.

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