I live for lamb chops. Juicy, tender, rare (please please give me rare), deep reddish pink, browned, crusty, herbed, fatty goodness. So when my father sent me on a mission to make rack of lamb (what? 8 lamb chops in a row?) I was all over it. My version (with guidance from Mike the butcher at Corti Brothers) uses a simple rub with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, fresh chopped rosemary and thyme. The trick is to not go overboard with the herbs. The lamb tastes so good on its own, the seasoning should complement the lamb, not dominate it.
Beneath the recipe I’ve included links to rack of lamb recipes from other food bloggers, and a recipe for a breaded herb crusted version from chef Gordon Ramsay that my father likes. Do you have a favorite version? Please let us know about it in the comments.
Classic Rack of Lamb Recipe
The cooking time depends on how big your rack of lamb is, and how rare you want it cooked. Rack of lamb should be cooked rare, or at most medium rare. The instructions are for a rack 1 1/2 to 2 pounds big. If you have a smaller roast (I've seen packages of just a pound), reduce the cooking time from 7 minutes to 5 minutes on 400, and use the lower end of the cooking time given at 300. If you are cooking multiple racks (unless you are doing a crown roast which is a different matter), lay them out separately on the pan. You may need to add some time to the overall cooking time if cooking multiple racks. Of course, use a meat thermometer! This is too lovely and tender a roast to risk overcooking.
- 1 or more Frenched* lamb rib racks with 7 to 8 ribs each (1 1/2 to 2 pounds for each rack, figure each rack feeds 2-3 people)
For each rib rack:
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
*Typically you will buy a rack of lamb already "Frenched", or cut so that the rib bones are exposed. You can also ask your butcher to french them for you. For directions on how to French them yourself, see How to French a Rack of Lamb.
1 Rub rib rack(s) all over with mixture of rosemary, thyme, and garlic. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Place in a thick plastic bag with olive oil. Spread oil around so that it coats the lamb rack(s) all over. Squeeze out as much air as you can from the bag and seal. Place in a container so that if the bag leaks, the container catches the leak. If you want, place in the refrigerator overnight. Or, if you are not marinating overnight, let lamb rack(s) sit in the rub marinade as it comes to room temperature before cooking.
2 Remove lamb rack from refrigerator to 1-2 hours before you cook it so that it comes to room temp. (If the meat is not at room temperature it will be hard for it to cook evenly.)
3 Preheat oven to 425°F, arrange the oven rack so that the lamb will be in the middle of the oven. Score the fat, by making sharp shallow cuts through the fat, spaced about an inch apart. Sprinkle the rack all over with salt and pepper. Place the lamb rack bone side down (fat side up) on the pan. Wrap the exposed ribs in a little foil so that they don't burn.
4 Place the roast in the oven and lower the temp to 400°F. Roast at 400°F for 8 minutes, then lower the heat to 300°F. Cook for 7-15 minutes longer (depending on the size of the lamb rack, or one of the lamb racks if you are cooking more than one), until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat 125°F on a for rare or 135°F for medium rare. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
Cut lamb chops away from the rack by slicing between the bones. Serve 2-3 chops per person.
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