Last night I went to my local grocery store's butcherette--you know, the lone full service meat case to make up for all the many cases of shrink-wrapped meat. I was looking for lambchops, which they only had vacuum sealed from Australia in quantities larger than I wanted, but there, on display in the butcherette case was a full crown roast of lamb looking rather lost and confused as it sat there behind a tag reading "Mozarella Stuffed Meatballs $4.99 lb."
Me: I'm certain you're not selling it for the same price as the stuffed meatballs, but just how much is the crown roast?
Apprentice Butcher comes around the case, peers at the tag in confusion, then goes back behind the counter, looking baffled and begins to consult the Big Butcher Book of Prices.
Apprentice Butcher: I've never seen one of those before. They just put it in the case yesterday. I don't know what it's called.
Me: It's a crown roast of lamb.
Crown Roast of Lamb: Help me! I'm among commoners! They put me next to the ground beef and call me 'meatballs'!" *SOB*
Apprentice Butcher continues to consult the Big Butcher Book of Prices. Enter Chad, Journeyman Butcher.
Junior Butcher: Chad! What's the price on the crown roast of lamb? It's not in the book.
Chad, Journeyman Butcher, peers at the case and spies $4.99lb. tag.
Chad, Journeyman Butcher: Well, if that's the price it's marked in the case, that's the price we have to sell it to him for.
Me: Sure. I'll take it for $4.99 a pound.
Crown Roast of Lamb: Hallelujah! My freedom has been bought! Wait, why does my tag still call me stuffed meatballs? Oh the indignity!
This is how I came to be possessor of a crown roast of lamb for $12.77 total, which I'm going to cook up for guests tomorrow and I may even make or see if I can purchase the old-fashioned paper frills you're supposed to put on the ends of the bones.
Here's my dilemma: My cookbooks mention that crown roast of lamb can be cooked stuffed or unstuffed, and if cooked unstuffed, is then stuffed as part of plating for presentation, usually with cooked peas. My question: Which tastes better?
Other related problem: The guests. The guests are not quite of the "Yargh! Meat must be well done! All color is bad!" school but they do prefer more medium-well and have only eaten lamb a couple times in their life (strange as this may sound). The cookbooks however mention that crown roast is best served rare, and I prefer rare myself.
How much more well done (I'm thinking of aiming for medium) will the smaller chops in the crown be?
Anyone have any experiene cooking these who could give an opinion?