Braised Australian Lamb Neck, Warm Heirloom Tomato Panzanella with Olive Focaccia Croutons, and Sauce Aureole

Adapted by
April 2011
Yield: 4 Servings


Olive Focaccia Croutons
¼ ounce dry active yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
⅓ cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to coat
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup Niçoise olives, rinsed and chopped
¼ cup fine herbs
Braised Australian Lamb Neck
2 lamb necks, deboned
1 quart lamb stock, made with lamb neck bones
Sauce Aureole
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
Innards from 6 heirloom tomatoes, de-seeded
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
Warm Heirloom Tomato Panzanella
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, julienned
6 heirloom tomatoes, peeled, and julienned, innards reserved
2 tablespoons fine herbs
Assemble and Serve
1 tablespoon fennel pollen
1 tablespoon flavorless oil


For the Olive Focaccia Croutons:
Preheat the oven for 450°F. In a bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and water. When the yeast starts to react, add flour, olive oil, and salt; stir well. Empty the flour mixture onto a floured surface and knead until a firm dough has formed. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp towel and set aside in a dark, dry location until doubled in volume, about 30 to 40 minutes. Fold the olives and herbs into the dough. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to ½ inch thick, and poke the dough with your fingertips to make indentations. Lightly coat the dough with oil and season with salt. Transfer to a greased pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the focaccia from the oven and cool completely. Lower the oven to 350°F. Cut the focaccia into ½-inch cubes and bake until golden and crisp. Cool the croutons, and reserve.

For the Braised Australian Lamb Neck:
Put the neck meat in a Cryovac bag with 1 cup of stock. Seal the bag and cook sous vide for 12 hour at 165°F; you also can slow cook, in a small, covered Dutch oven until the meat is tender. Cool to room temperature and remove the liquid from the bag or pot. Reserve the meat.

For the Sauce Aureole:
Make a blonde roux by heating butter in sauté pan and stirring in the flour. Add the braising liquid from the Braised Australian Lamb Neck, and enough leftover stock for the desired consistency. Cook out the flour taste and add the reserved tomato innards from the Braised Australian Lamb Neck. Blend until smooth, and stir in the crème fraîche. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Warm Heirloom Tomato Panzanella:
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sweat onions until tender. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few seconds to warm through. Remove them from heat and add 1 cup of the Olive Focaccia Croutons and herbs.

To Assemble and Serve:
Lightly coat the Braised Australian Lamb Neck meat with fennel pollen. Heat the flavorless oil in a sauté pan and sear the neck meat over a medium-high heat. Plate the Warm Heirloom Tomato Panzanella, and top with the seared Braised Australian Lamb Neck. Spoon the Sauce Aureole around the meat.