Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb
This rack of lamb with its savory combination of herbs, mustard and breadcrumbs makes for either the perfect appetizer or an impressive holiday entrée. As an entree, it can be served alongside simple roasted vegetables. With the bones attached it looks as elegant as a whole roast but it takes significantly less time to cook. While this recipe takes a little time to marinate it is worth the wait – it makes for flavorful, juicy meat. Grilling the lamb adds a nice crust to the outside while the tender meat is a bright pink medium-rare.
I love coming up with new and crazy recipes but there is just something wonderful about using tried and true traditional recipes as well. Traditions are a funny thing, as often you don’t know how they started but they just come to be. My dad always makes this dish for special occasions like Christmas and it’s always a hit.
7 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (8-rib) racks of lamb (each rack about 1 ½ pounds), frenched*
½ cup plain breadcrumbs
In a small bowl stir together garlic, parsley, thyme, and rosemary until combined, then set aside. In another small mixing bowl whisk together the olive oil, mustard and cumin until thoroughly combined. Lay the racks of lamb out of a cutting board and rub both sides with the olive oil mixture and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Evenly spread the herb mixture over the lamb racks. Place in a tightly sealed container and refrigerate for at least two hours and up to overnight.
When ready to cook, bring the rack of lamb to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Heat grill to 450º.
Fill a large, shallow bowl with the breadcrumbs and dredge each side of the lamb in the breadcrumbs.
Use aluminum foil to cover the top end of the bones on the rack of lamb. This keeps the bones from burning before the meat is done cooking. Grill the lamb until the internal temperature reaches 130º (for medium rare), about 10 minutes on each side.
Remove the racks of lamb from the grill, discard the aluminum foil and let rest on a platter for at least 10 minutes. Cut the lamb between the bones into individual chops and serve immediately.
Serves 8 as an appetizer, 4 as an entrée.
*Note: When ordering the rack of lamb you can ask the butcher to “french” cut them. This means cutting away the layer of muscle and fat that extends to the end of the rib bones. You can also do this yourself by making a crosswise cut all the way across the fatty top side of the rib bones (about 1 ½” above the rib bones) and then cutting away the strips of meat between the rib bones by cutting along the inner edges of the bones.