Abu Dhabi GP - Cardamom Crumbed Lamb, Eggplant Salad, and Apricot Almond Cake

I can't believe it is the end of the season already. The final race in Abu Dhabi is quite a spectacle and a great send off to what turned out to be a pretty exciting year. 

Congratulations to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton for clinching the Constructors and Driver Championships! Hoping next year we see more competition at the front... I'm looking at you Ferrari. Expecting Red Bull and hopefully McLaren to also show some good upgrades and make this a real fight! 

Images from Instagram (@lewishamilton @mercedesamgf1) 

For the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix we expanded our culinary choices beyond machboos and in fact I ventured all the way... to the library. I found a stack of books on Middle Eastern cuisines which ranged from Israeli, Palestinian, Azerbaijani, Turkish, and Emirati to more countries and regions beyond.  It was fun perusing the recipe books and reading about the regions wealth of food history. 

For this race I picked a few that just sounded too irresistible: Cardamom Crumbed Lamb, Eggplant Salad, and Apricot Almond Cake. 

Middle Eastern Cooking Library Books
Cardamom Crumbed Lamb

Cardamom-Crumbed Lamb Cutlets

Artichoke to Za'atar: Modern Middle Eastern Food by Greg Malouf and Lucy Malouf

2 racks lamb
5 pods cardamom, seeds only, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons sherry (or apple cider vinegar)
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
½ cup crumbing mixture
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Crumbing mix:
1 tablespoon sumac
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, roasted (or pan toasted) and crushed
zest of ½ lemon
½ cup bread crumbs

1.     Preheat over to 425F.
2.     Clean up racks of lamb by scraping bones of excess fat and tissue
3.     To make the glaze, put cardamom seeds, mustard, honey, and sherry in a saucepan with a grind of black pepper. Heat gently until the honey melts. Mix ingredients constantly until they come together in a thin glaze.
4.     Combine the cumbing mixture with the olive oil. Add the parmesan to the bread crumbs and mix together. 
5.     Lightly season lamb racks with salt and pepper. Spread the glaze generously onto the meat side of the lamb racks and press the crumbing mixture into the glaze, packing it on generously but neatly. Wrap aluminum foil around the bones to prevent charring.
6.     Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet and place lamb racks on top of oil. Cook in preheated oven until desired temperature. (Book suggests 12 minutes for medium-rare, 15 for medium – we needed at least 25 minutes for mefium-rare, so make sure to use a thermometer – med/rare 145F.)
7.     Allow to rest with an aluminum tent for 10 minutes.
8.     Slice and serve.

Served with Eggplant Salad and Za'atar bread (or... cheater za'atar bread, recipe below)

Zaatar Bread

Cheater Za’atar Bread

Flatbread (Trader Joe’s Naan, pita bread)
Good quality olive oil
Za’atar spice blend (see below)

Spread 1 tsp olive oil on each flat bread, sprinkle generous amount of Za’atar spice blend on flat bread.

Bake for 5 minutes or until slightly brown and crispy edges form.

Za’atar spice blend

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano (or ½ Tbsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. sumac
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients


To end the night, and the season, we had a delicious Apricot Almond Cake and Quick Turkish Coffees.

Almond Apricot Cake

Looking back over the 2017 season there were some spectacular races and a lot of great race drama. If you want to relive it, the Formula 1 Youtube channel has highlights from every race in a playlist. Alternatively, you can just pull up the defining moments like Baku or Mexico, or some of the most exciting races like Malaysia, Singapore, and China.

Or like me, you can revisit it through food by going back and making more Char Kway Teow and Banoffee Pie

Looking forward to next year, in 2018 two new (returning) races will be added to the calendar, in France and Germany. New races means new food! Can't wait to explore french cuisine and make some delicious things covered in butter! 

It will be a long winter wait for March 25th, 2018... but in the meantime I may have some surprises and fun things in store to keep us entertained and well fed over the break. 

Here's to the future:

"It's been an amazing season and now a new era awaits. The greatest races are ahead of us... " 

Formula 1 Youtube Channel: For more F1® videos, visit http://www.Formula1.com