Five Spiced Lamb Loin Eggplant Caponata

Serves 4-6 people

3 lamb racks, trimmed
Salt and pepper
Olive oil, as needed

Five Spice Blend
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon pink peppercorns
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon mustard seeds

Eggplant Caponata
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggplant, small diced
1 white onion, small diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 plum tomatoes, small diced
10 Sicilian olives, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

For the Five Spice Blend
In a small pan over low heat, combine the spices and toast until very fragrant; about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and blend to a powder; reserve.

For the Eggplant Caponata
Preheat oven to 400˚F. In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the eggplant with a sprinkling of salt and cook, stirring for four minutes. Add the onion, garlic, tomato, olives, capers, and raisins. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to soften and blend; about 15 minutes. Add the vinegar, place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (If the caponata seems too dry, add water as needed). Season to taste and keep warm.

For the Lamb
While the caponata is cooking, season the lamb on all sides with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan over high heat, sear the lamb in olive oil on all sides until browned. Remove from the pan and coat evenly with the five spice mixture. Transfer to a sheet tray with a rack, and place in the oven, roasting approximately 10 minutes; until it reaches an internal temperature of 130˚F. Remove and rest at room temperature for about five minutes. Slice the lamb racks between every two bones and plate two slices per person, serve with the eggplant caponata.