Today we bought our first rack of lamb. This is not a typical main dish in our home, as it’s quite expensive for our family of 4.5 (counting the dog of course). I thought it would be a nice treat and something to get my culinary fangs into. A challenge.
Lamb is very forgiving to work with. This rack is from New Zealand, and had the ribs Frenched before packaging, a big time saver for a busy mom like myself. There was a thin fat cap and silver skin, I loosened the skin in preparation of a buttery implement.
Sure, you could use a dry marinade, but why not use a compound butter? Take a good tablespoon of butter, add an insane amount of freshly minced garlic and a tablespoon of fresh rosemary – and I mean just-picked-off-the-plant fresh rosemary. This makes a difference, I think, because the essential oils of the plant have not had a chance to wither away, the herb is very fragrant and that’s how it should be. To the butter, include sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, plus a few drops of olive oil to ease the viscosity of the butter.
Take a little of the butter mixture and stuff it under the loose skin on both racks. Then smear the remainder all over the outside. Interlace the ribs and place into a shallow roasting pan, or a stainless steel pan with no rubber handles. Sprinkle a dash more sea salt and pepper on the top of the meat and the ribs. Roast, fat side up, in a 425 F oven for about 20-25 minutes. The internal temperature should read 130 F minimum, 140-150 F for medium, which may add 5-8 minutes. Then turn on the broiler to finish the crust, the salt will help the meat brown, the butter under the skin will melt into the meat as it cooks. Allow the finished rack of lamb to rest for 10 minutes before carving between each rib.
I’ve also made single lamb pops using a dry marinade consisting of the same formula as the compound butter, only there’s to butter added. Rub the pops on both sides and let them marinate in the fridge for 2 hours. Let them warm up on the counter before cooking, 20 minutes or so – not too long. Lightly coat with olive oil and quickly sear in a skillet on both sides. Finish the pops in the oven (425 F) to your desired doneness, I let mine roast for about 12 minutes. Under the broiler would cut that amount of time in half easily, however you would need to watch the lamb pops like a hawk, or like Pepper our dog.
Rack of lamb only sounds complicated and fancy, it’s really not! Try this at least once and tell me about it…