Bust out the candles and pop the cork on that “special occasion” bottle of red cuz I’ve got a recipe that’s gonna stoke the fires of romance. An herb crusted, oven roasted rack of lamb. Don’t freak out! I know that thing can look a little intimidating with all those bones sticking out, that layer of fat over top of it and that sometimes large price sticker on the sign. But trust me. A rack of lamb is as easy to cook as lamb chops and it’s probably a bit more forgiving. If you’ve ever over cooked lamb chops before, you know what I’m talking about.
Seriously. Crank up the Sinatra because this herb crusted rack of lamb is going to make more than lamb juices flow. How can I make such a strong statement? First of all…the resulting lamb chops are sweet, tender, succulent and oozing with herby deliciousness (I dare you to resist…unless you don’t like lamb and then, well, I got nothin’ for you). Secondly…how many times do I have to say that cooking, and food, is a seductive art? Thirdly…I speak from personal experience here. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. <big cheesy grin>
I’ve posted other lamb recipes here before, including a few for lamb chops. Lamb chops are easy to make. All you need are the chops (duh) a few ingredients, a hot pan and 7-10 minutes. They’re my idea of fast food. But I know that sometimes it can be pretty easy to overcook the chops, especially if you’re using some of the punier one’s that have been Frenched and cut into individual lamb chops. (Frenched is what it means when the meat is stripped from the bones and you’ve got that triangle of meat with a long straight, or slightly curved bone, sticking out of the top of the meat.)
For the record, I realize these are not the best photos I’ve ever posted. But the evening I made this rack of lamb was when the sun seemed to be setting around 2 in the afternoon. But I can honestly tell you that this rack of lamb, and resulting lamb chops look (in real life), almost as good as they taste.
While you can make this with pretty much any rack of lamb that you find at your favorite meat counter, I recommend trying to find the meatiest rack with some kind of fat cap (the layer of fat that covers the outside – rounded side – of the meat). This layer will help to insulate the meat while it roasts and keeping the juices in the meat. If you don’t want to eat it, just cut it off after the lamb chops are done cooking.
Don’t worry about the meat being overwhelmed by the amount of herbs in this recipe. The herb flavor gets broken up a bit with zip from garlic, lemon and Dijon mustard. Another tasty surprise (in a good way) is toasted pistachios.
This rack of lamb is appointment dinner stuff. Get yourself for stay home date night and enjoy something or someone really juicy.
How many times do I have to tell you that food and sex are intertwined?
- For the Lamb
- 1 (4-8 rib) Frenched Racks of Lamb (2 lbs. with a thin layer of fat covering the outside)
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- For the Herb Crust
- 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
- 3 Tablespoons Grainy Mustard (or use Dijon mustard)
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- ½ Cup Finely Chopped Italian Parsley
- 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Thyme
- 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Tarragon
- 1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary
- ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 4 Ounces Roasted and Unsalted Pistachios (crushed and chopped)
- For the Lamb
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
- Pat the lamb dry with paper towels.
- Season the lamb, on both sides, with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Heat a large heavy skillet over high heat. Once it's rip roaring hot add the lamb, fat side down. Sear on each side for 2 minutes.
- Place the rack, fat side up, in a 9"x13" pan.
- Coating the Rack of Lamb
- Mix all the coating ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Press the herb coating mixture onto the fat side of the lamb (the side that's facing up).
- Insert a meat thermometer into the middle of the rack.
- Slide the lamb into the oven and roast until the thermometer reaches 125 degrees (for rare) and 130 degrees (for medium rare). This should take about 15-20 minutes. If it's taking longer than that, loosely cover the lamb with foil.
- The temperature of the lamb will increase about another 5 degrees after it is removed from the oven.
- Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into single or double bone chops.
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