rack of lamb with herb crust
Beef tenderloin. Lobster. Prime rib. Leg of lamb. Proteins that command attention, if for nothing but their price per pound. They are evocative of celebrations — a holiday, wedding, birthday or some noteworthy festivity. Both my French and Scottish grandparents made lamb for special occasions, as did my parents. Usually a leg of lamb — enough to feed a crowd. I loved it. I still do.
Trouble is, I don’t want to wait for a rare moment to enjoy it. A Saturday date night at home should be reason enough to uncork a good Malbec and savor the meaty goodness. But Scott and I can’t consume an entire leg of lamb. Besides, date night should be fun — not work. Enter the rack of lamb.
Ideally, for date night, dinner should come together in half an hour. Forty-five minutes if you and your honey are sipping cocktails while cooking and listening to Pandora. This one does just that.
I found this recipe years ago in Gourmet magazine and it was an instant hit. So much so that it has been the star attraction for countless dinners, both intimate and festive. The original recipe makes enough for eight people. I modified it for two.
This rack of lamb has a mustard and herb crust and the preparation literally takes ten minutes. It cooks in a single pan – and because it’s not a roast, it’s done in about twenty minutes. Let it rest on your cutting board for four or five minutes and cut it into beautiful double cut chops. Decadent? Yes. Simple? Indeed.
This is one of those unique cuts of meat that is automatically dressed to impress — and for about fifteen dollars, it’s an affordable luxury that feeds two (or three) people. Think about it… you could go out to dinner and easily spend thirty or forty dollars per person on this same entr?e —not including the wine. I would rather put in the half an hour of prep, enjoying a really good bottle of wine and music of my choosing, than jockey for a seat at the bar, while I wait an hour for a table to open. Wouldn’t you?
- 1 slice bread, torn into pieces (I used whole wheat, but multi-grain and white bread are fine)
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- sprinkle of salt and pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 rack of lamb (eight ribs)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Into a mini-prep food processor add bread mint and rosemary. Pulse until fine crumbs are formed. Set aside.
- Season lamb with salt and pepper.
- In a large grill pan or cast iron pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb, fattier side down and cook for 1-2 minutes to sear. Flip lamb over and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat.
- Spread mustard on fattier side of lamb.
- Top mustard with bread crumbs - pressing down slightly to adhere.
- Roast lamb for 18 minutes for medium rare. (20 minutes for medium).
- Remove from pan and let rest for 4-5 minutes on a cutting board.
- Carve into 2-rib portions.
- Rosemary leaves are tough and don't get minced well in the food processor, which is why I chop them before adding them to the bread mixture.