Herb crusted rack of lamb

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Until I moved to the UK, I had never tasted lamb in my life. Sheep’s milk – yes. Cheese made out of ewe’s milk – yes. Lamb meat – never. Not through choice though, it just simply never came up as an option as it wasn’t part of my mum’s repertoire. But when I started living here and embarked on the culinary journey together with Mr A, I discovered how delicious lamb can be. I say “can be” because I have had some nasty, dry lamb joints cooked for me over the years… Luckily, I no longer have to put up with these. And I have also managed to convert my mum too, result!

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I love slow and low roasted shoulder of lamb, cooked with rosemary and lavender from the garden until it’s soft and falling off the bone. And I love the drama of a whole leg of lamb cooked in wine and served with flageolet beans for a little get together with friends. But when I want a real treat, I turn to a rack of lamb. The sweetness of the meat is unbeatable in a delicate lamb cutlet. And when it’s cooked as a whole rack, the succulent and juicy lamb is something truly special. To complement its delicate flavour and protect the meat, I coat it with a mixture of mustard, herbs and breadcrumbs and roast it quickly for a perfectly pink in the middle. It’s finger licking good.

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It’s such a feast for a special occasion whether it’s a romantic dinner by a candlelight or a slightly different take on Easter Sunday lunch. And whilst I appreciate it tends to be an expensive cut of meat, it is worth the effort especially when it’s responsibly sourced. If you can, do give it a try. It’s a good idea to ask your butcher to prepare the rack of lamb for you so that it’s French trimmed – meaning the bones are cleaned of tissue and fat and are exposed giving the joint that beautiful, uniformed look. Whilst most of the recipes call for fresh breadcrumbs, I prefer to use dried ones as find they absorb just the right amount of the juice and turn crispy and crunchy without getting soggy. And instead of just using herbs, I also add some lemon zest for that zingy freshness that cuts through the fat. I like to serve my rack of lamb with some creamy mashed potatoes, spiked with sour cream and a medley of green vegetable. Broccoli, peas and asparagus go well. As does an optional side serving of home made mint sauce. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 racks of lamb (8 cutlets each)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbs of freshly chopped parsley
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs of dried breadcrumbs

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Heat a large frying pan until smoking hot. Place one rack at the time in the pan and sear it all around until golden brown. Remove from the pan and allow both racks to cool whilst you prepare the rub.

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Preheat the oven to 220°C. Line a small roasting tray with parchment paper.

Cut the garlic in half and rub it all over the meat. Season the lamb with salt and pepper before positioning the meat on the roasting tray and placing a teaspoon of mustard on each rack. Brush the mustard liberally ensuring the meat is coated all around.

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Mix the lemon zest and parsley together. Carefully place the mixture on each rack and using your fingers gently massage it into the mustard making sure it’s evenly spread but remains on the meat. Sprinkle each rack with the breadcrumbs and gently pat them into the herby coating.

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Place the prepared lamb into the oven and roast for 30 minutes. I like my lamb nice and pink in the middle but if you prefer it well done, roast it for an extra 15 minutes.

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Remove the meat from the oven and set aside somewhere warm. Cover with foil if you wish and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Transfer onto a carving board and using a sharp knife, cut the rack between the bones into individual cutlets. Serve it immediately with your choice of accompaniments. And don’t forget to share the bones with your four legged friends if you have some, they will love you even more. Enjoy x

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