A dish that is always a favorite when Laura and I go out to eat is rack of lamb. We first fell in love with it on our honeymoon in Hawaii where we got it at BarAcuda in Kauai then again at the St. Regis in Princeville. When cooked right, the meat is so tender and flavorful. For a nice formal meal, it’s hard to beat.
I have tried making rack of lamb a few times in the past with, in my mind, minimal success. And since it costs a bit, its hard to do a lot of experimenting. Here’s a little tip I learned the hard way when it comes to buying rack of lamb. A couple years ago for Easter I went to Whole Foods to get the lamb because I wanted it to be special. I wanted the good stuff. So I waited around for the butcher to take my order, patiently. After I told him what I wanted, he went and opened a vacuum sealed bag that had the racks in it. At first, I was like, “Uhhh, ok. Probably could have got this crap anywhere.” So I ended up paying a premium for some dude to remove the meat for the packaging. Fast forward a month and see me in Costco (with a big ass cart). I’m looking at the meat, and what do I see?? Yeah, I see the same damn packages of rack of lamb but at a much lower price! Whole Foods – 1, Robert – 0.
I was lucky to stumble on this recipe from Emril while browsing the Food Network Recipe website. Which, I will add, is a great place to get recipes and ideas for recipes. The recipe is for Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb, and it’s hard to mess up. Here’s what you will need:
- 1 rack of lamb, trimmed (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
The recipe also calls for a fig chutney which I skipped (too much work, wasn’t feeling it). To prepare the meat, you will want to trim away most of the thick layer of fat on the rack. This can take few minutes and get slippery, but you really need to do it.
Rub a good amount of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper (don’t use the pre ground stuff, it sucks) all over the meat. Then heat a skillet with oil to high heat. Once the oil is hot, brown all sides of the meat. Use your best judgement on this. I like to get it a point where I dont see pink anywhere. This searing creates a great crust around the outside of the meat and locks in the salt and pepper you just put on there.
Now slather the mustard all over the meat, followed by the garlic. You probably want to add more garlic if you are anything like me. Garlic is just so damn good, you can never have enough. Then sprinkle on the bread crumbs and parmesan. I like to use panko breadcrumbs becuase they are crispier and will add a great textrure. Also, you should feel free to add more cheese. The cheese wont be melty, but will over a nice flavor and saltiness to the meat. With everything ready to go, bake in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Once done, let it rest for a bit. While it’s resting, I recommend you set the table so you don’t look like a scrub. Also it would be a nice time to crack open a beer, and invite me over. I can get there in a couple minutes.
Now that it’s rest for a few minutes, slice off individual chops and admire at the nice pink center you have achieved. Medium rare is the only way to eat this, so if you are somebody that likes their meat well done, just save your money. Dont bother.
When I made this dish I served it with mashed potatoes and green beans. They went very well together. Rosemary roasted potatoes could go well with this as well. Whatever you want to do will be cool because the main dish will be fantastic. I guarantee it!