When I was growing up, lamb was something that we just didn’t eat. Nobody raised sheep and it was nowhere to be found in the grocery stores. I imagine that you would have had to go to a big city back then to buy fresh lamb. Of course, we had beef, pork, chicken, game, and all sorts of fish, but lamb…nope. It was very rare.
Although, now that I think about it, I do remember mama roasting a leg of lamb – or maybe mutton – one time. I need to remember to ask her where she got that because I know for a fact it couldn’t have been at the local Piggly Wiggly. Or the IGA either. Wow…things that make you go “hmmmm.”
You know, a large percentage of the lamb sold in the U. S. comes from New Zealand. And a few years ago they had a problem with lamb production in that country. That’s when the price went through the roof. Thank goodness it’s starting to come down. Because of the high price, I haven’t made a rack of lamb for some time. Prices around here have been $17.99 a pound, but when I recently saw some for $12.99, I went ahead and grabbed two racks and brought them home. Still expensive, but I’ll pay that for an occasional indulgence.
Don’t let rack of lamb intimidate you. It’s really simple. For this recipe, all that you’re doing is creating a crumb coating, browning the lamb, brushing it with Dijon mustard, slapping the coating on and finishing the cooking in the oven. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
To start, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
Prepare the fresh bread crumbs using whatever leftover bread you have on hand. I happened to have part of a whole grain baguette that was slowly turning into a baseball bat. Just pop your bread into a food processor and let it work until you have fresh bread crumbs.
Mix together the bread crumbs, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Stir with a fork until everything is nicely distributed and well coated with the oil. Put the mixture into a shallow pan to make applying it to the racks easier.
Remove the racks from their packaging and wipe them dry with paper towels. Season the racks of lamb on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the racks on all sides, including the ends, until they are a light golden brown. Remove the racks from the pan and let them rest and cool for 5 or 6 minutes.
When the racks have cooled enough to handle, brush each on all sides with the Dijon mustard. Use a really good Dijon mustard since its flavor is prominent in the recipe. My all time favorite? Maille.
Roll the racks in the crumb mixture until evenly coated. Pat the mixture onto each rack so that it adheres well. Wipe out the skillet – no need to wash it – and arrange the racks, bone side down, back in the skillet.
Cover the ends of the bones with foil to prevent burning. Drizzle a little additional olive oil over the coating if you like. Roast the lamb in the preheated oven for 12-20 minutes. Using an instant read meat thermometer, begin checking by taking a reading in the center of the meat after 12 minutes. Cook to desired degree of doneness. Medium rare is 140 to 150 degrees. Medium is 160 degrees. Most people agree that lamb is best not cooked beyond medium. I say cook it however you like :-)
Remove the racks from the oven and let them rest for 10 minutes before carving. Cut between each rib to cut the rack into chops for serving.
More recipes for rack of lamb and lamb chops you might enjoy from around the internet:
- Herb Crusted and Honey Glazed Rack of Lamb from Lawfully Wedded Wife
- Rosemary Crusted Lamb Chops from Simply Recipes
- Roasted Rack of Lamb from Putney Farm
- How to Make Rack of Lamb, Without the Torture from SippitySup
- Lamb Chops Scottadito from The Italian Chef
What I was up to…
- One year ago: Country Eggs Benedict
- Two years ago: Hashbrown Casserole
- Three years ago: Roasted Asparagus
- Four years ago: Baked Mozzarella and Cherry Tomatoes