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On August 23, 2007, at the W Hotel in New York, over 400 food, wine and tennis fans convened for the Dacor Taste of Tennis Food and Wine event to benefit the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

Coinciding with the launch of the 2007 US Open, the event featured tennis stars such as Andy Roddick, Tommy Haas and Rafael Nadal as they traded in their rackets for aprons and joined forces with some of the world’s top chefs in cooking demonstrations. Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and more than a dozen top-ranked restaurants – Amalia, The Palm, Barbounia, Anthos, davidburke&donatella – all had chefs on hand to prepare mouthwatering dishes such as mini crab cakes with Aleppo mayonnaise and braised short ribs with sea salt and butterscotch-carrot puree.

Aquavit chef Marcus Samuelsson, whose new African restaurant opens in October, guided Roddick through the culinary process of making mango, raisin and jalapeño couscous with Moroccan-spiced lamb. Guest enjoyed stations and bars set up by Rums of Puerta Rico, Pilsner and Palm Bay Imports, while players participated in cooking demonstrations and mingled with guests in lounges spread throughout the hotel.

In addition to Andy Roddick, several other tennis professionals were in attendance. Nicolas Kiefer served up hamachi crudo, Tomas Berdych took a stab at sesame oil-spiked tuna, Mario Ancic drizzled oilive oil over steaks from the Strip House, Ashley Weinhold perfected Amalia chef Ivy Stark’s crab cakes and Rapahel Nadal simply enjoyed the food.

The event also showcased a silent auction with incredible sports memorabilia such as boxing gloves signed by Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, a signed poster of Dale Sayers and ice skates signed by the controversial Tonya Harding.

AYS, a company specializing in creating, managing and marketing unique sports and entertainment related events, hosted the event. President and event founder, Judi Lerner, said, “This event has grown each year and we’ve found the players and chefs really look forward to it.”

If you’d like to test your own culinary expertise, below are several of recipes that were prepared during the event.

Berbere-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Mango Couscous
Makes 6 to 8 servings

From chef Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit (made with help from Andy Roddick at Dacor Taste of Tennis)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 11 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped rosemary
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed
  • 2 frenched racks of lamb (1 1/2 pounds each)
  • 3 tablespoons Berbere or mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons beaten egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Combine the oil, rosemary and garlic in a large zipper-lock bag. Add the lamb, then seal the bag, forcing out the excess air. Marinate in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours, turning the bag several times.

Preheat the oven to 400. Make the berbere paste: Stir together 1 tablespoon of the Berbere (or chili powder), the mustard, yolk and breadcrumbs in a small bowl, then add enough wine to make a paste. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Remove lamb from the marinade; discard the marinade. Heat a dry 12-inch heavy sauté pan over high heat until very hot. Reduce the heat to medium-high and brown the lamb, one rack at a time, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer, fat side up, to a large roasting pan.

Smear the Berbere paste on the fat side of the lamb. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the rack reads 125 for medium-rare, about 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.

While the lamb is roasting, toast the remaining two tablespoons Berbere in a small heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil, then boil until reduced to the consistency of a sauce. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter bit by bit until incorporated. Serve with the lamb.

Mango Couscous
Makes 4 cups

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed small cilantro sprigs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed small parsley sprigs, chopped
  • Salt

Prepare the couscous according to the package directions. Set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the garlic, mango and jalapeño and sauté until the mango begins to color lightly. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the couscous, raisins, tomato, lime juice, cilantro and parsley and toss to heat through. Season with salt. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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