This sweet and savory stuffed mushroom appetizer is made with ground sweet Italian sausage, goat cheese & chopped Calimyrna figs.  For a little extra eye appeal they’ve been topped them with slivered almonds.

Fresh Calimyrna figs  are definitely my preference over the darker variety fig as they have a milder flavor that doesn’t over power the other ingredients.  The tastes of this stuffed mushroom will burst with variety of sweet and savory flavors that seem to crunch and pop out individually.

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You can easily substitute golden delicious apples and feta cheese for figs and goat cheese if not available.  Sometimes you can find dried figs packaged on the same aisle in the grocery as where you find raisins.

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For the love of Lamb this is one of the best ways to introduce someone to a Lamb dish. I served this lamb for a Holiday Dinner party; doubled the recipe and it was perfect for 8 people.

Some of my best friends, Scott & Pam, Barry & Gina along with my hubby Gus, of course, enjoyed and savored the meal.  Scott made his famous Port Mushroom Gravy Sauce that complimented the lamb wonderfully.  I’ve tried to get the recipe from him but he only has it in his head and says it always turn out different each time.  The dinner was also served with roasted potatoes along with sauteed fresh green beans with almond slivers.

If serving for 4 people, just stay with the recipe as is. There should be 4 individual chops per person.

Ingredients

2 racks of lamb; about 3 lb. total, Frenched 2  Tbs. Parsley chopped
1  teaspoon Kosher Salt; plus to taste 1  Tbs. fresh thyme chopped
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper; ground pepper 2  Tbs. Dijon mustard Optional
1  cup Croutons; garlic & olive oil seasoned , crushed

Preparation

Place a roasting rack in a large roasting pan and set the lamb racks on top. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

1.  Using a sharp paring knife, remove as much of the coating from the individual bones so that they do not discolor during cooking.  This step is not necessary for the ultimate taste, but only for the ultimate look of the lamb.

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2.  Remove as much excess fat as your desire. I cut off all the fat that I can because I think it helps to keep the lamb final flavor a little more on the milder side and less greasy. Make sure to remove as much fat as possible to take the edge off the taste of the lamb.

3.  Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper. If the time of year permits or if you have an indoor grill, sear lamb over high heat to add heat scoring and to seal the juices in the meat.

4.  Place the racks, fat side up, on a roasting rack, with the bones facing outward and the loins towards the center of the pan.  See the pictures for clarification.  Cover the lamb bones with foil to keep them from browning to much.  If you like dijon mustard, then you can evenly spread 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard over each lamb loin prior to adding the crouton crumbs.

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5.  In a small bowl, stir together the crushed croutons, parsley, thyme, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Spread the mixture evenly over the loins of each rack, pressing gently to form a loose crust.  (I use Fresh Gourmet Roasted Garlic Croutons — one of my favorites and there is enough garlic and olive oil in the crumbs at the bottom of the bag to do 1/2 a recipe.  If I don’t have these croutons on hand then I would substitute plain croutons or a coarse bread crumb then add 2 minced garlic cloves and 3 tablespoons olive oil to the crouton mixture.)

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6.  Transfer to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, away from the bone, registers 125 Degrees F for rare, 35 to 40 minutes.  They will continue to cook a little more as they rest.  (When planning for a dinner party, place lamb in oven as the last guest arrives to ensure that it doesn”t over cook.

7.  Transfer the lamb racks to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 10 minutes. Cut the racks into chops, transfer to individual plates.   Serve immediately.

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Cuisine:French    Main Ingredient: Lamb

Almost without fail, when I have a dinner party or a gathering  for a fun cocktail hour evening, I will serve this appetiser.  It’s a great one to mix up for your friends and to get your friends to mix together.  Sometimes, a Bruschetta is served with the tapanade already on the bread.

I like to serve mine with toasted baquette and the Bruschetta on the side so the bread does not get soggy.  Hate soggy bread for some reason.

So, if you like to have the tapenade flavor mix into the bread, then feel free to serve the toasties already topped.  The difference though is that your friends may just load their plate and not mingle as much around the appetiser table.  There are a couple of other appetisers in the feature image; Stuffed Mushrooms.  One is a Stuffed Mushrooms with Sweet Italian Sausage, Goat Cheese & Figs and Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Water Chestnuts.  Look for these in the future.

This baquette toastie is different from most that I have tried because it is a nice appetiser all on it’s own.  It has a robust flavor that is enhanced by the Bruschetta.  You can use this baquette recipe for almost any tapenade.  Enjoy… from KCinAZ.

Ingredients

Bruschetta Topping:   Baguette:
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil 1  pound French bread Baguette
1  tablespoon Champagne Wine vinegar 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
2  cloves garlic, peeled; chopped 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt
3  large Tomatoes; chopped  Italian seasoning to taste
12  sprigs Basil; chopped 1/4 cup Asiago Cheese shredded
Salt; To taste

Preparation

Remove seeds and pulp from tomatoes and then dice into small pieces.  Mix together tomatoes, chopped or minced garlic cloves, olive oil, Champagne wine vinegar, chopped basil, salt and pepper and set aside to serve at table.

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Slice French bread baguette into 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices; your choice depending on the crowd.  Place on flat baking dish like a heavy cookie pan.  Brush top of each slice with extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle with garlic salt and lightly top with shredded Asiago Cheese on each bread slice.  Place under hot broiler and cook on BROIL until lightly browned.

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If you don’t have Asiago Cheese on hand, feel free to substitute fresh shredded Parmesan.  It will still be great!

Makes 12 servings.