Tom Sarafian's BBQ lamb rack with an anchovy zhough
We were just as sad as many of you to see the closure of Bar Saracen early this month. Helmed by Tom Sarafian, this little laneway restaurant brought delicious Middle Eastern fare to Melbourne for only a short time. If you're missing Tom's cooking, you can visit him at Little Andorra in Carlton North where he'll be for the next little while. Tom is a spectacular chef, always taking a twist on some classic dishes with delicious results. Here's a new take on a Zhough, a Yemeni sauce normally made with garlic, herbs and chilli. Tom suggests the addition of anchovy, which while isn't traditional, works amazingly well with this marinated rack of lamb.
For the marinade
100ml olive oil
50g Baharat spice mix
3 peeled white onions
For the Zhough
1 bunch coriander, washed and roughly chopped, stems included
1/2 bunch parsley, washed and roughly chopped, tender stems included
3 large cloves Australian garlic
6 long green chillis, split and seeds removed
2 tablespoons pickled green chillis, and a splash of their pickling juice
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon maras pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 good quality anchovies, and a splash of their oil
330ml of the best olive oil you can find
For the marinade, blitz onions until smooth, then squeeze 100ml of the juice, passing it through a chux cloth or clean tea towel into a large bowl. Add olive oil and baharat spice mix and whisk to mix well. Add the lamb to the bowl and rub the marinade all over. Place in the fridge overnight, uncovered, with the cutlets sitting upright so that the lamb fat dries a little. The lamb should be marinated for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days.
To make the Zhough, place all ingredients in a mortar and pestle or food processor and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust to your liking with a little sea salt and lemon juice. This sauce is best made as close to serving as possible. If made in advance, make sure you take the rack out of the fridge to serve at room temperature.
When ready, preheat your charcoal bbq and take the lamb out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking, allowing it to come up to room temperature. Remove the lamb from the marinade and place it on a metal tray. Season well with sea salt flakes.
Cook over a low to medium heat, skin side down for 10 minutes, turning the rack if the fat flares up. If you have a small fan or pizza tray use that to put out flames. Ideally, the fat will drip into the coals, causing the smoke to permeate the meat, giving the lamb a beautiful smokey flavour. If the coals are too hot and causing flames, remove lamb and leave them to cool down for 10 minutes then start again. Turn the lamb over and cook for another 10 minutes, or to your liking.
Rest in a warm place for 10 minutes then carve straight down the middle of each cutlet to separate. Season the cut sides with sea salt and serve with the Zhough. Best served alongside bbq potatoes and leeks.
IMAGE CREDIT: BAR SARACEN FOR MEATSMITH X TOM SARAFIAN