Rack of lamb might be an extravagance, but it is also one of the easiest lamb dishes to prepare. You will look like a master chef serving it. Topping the rack with a crust is a classic preparation for this cut of meat. While you can get fancy with nuts and herbs, I keep it simple with mustard, lemon, mint, and parsley. Mint and lamb–oh so British. Mint is wildly popular with lamb since they are a natural flavor complement and the mint tempers the meat’s natural flavor that can be a bit gamy. Serve with mascarpone creamed spinach (recipe follows) made conveniently with frozen spinach, a fabulously great flavor combination with the lamb,and a new addition to so many restaurant menus.
Cooking Method: Oven
Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes
- 2 racks of lamb, frenched if desired
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Zest of 1 large lemon, cut off in long strips
- 3 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
Preheat oven to 400º. Pat racks dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Place in a shallow roasting pan. Spread the mustard on the meat-side up back of the rack.
In a food processor combine the lemon zest, breadcrumbs, parsley, and mint. Process until the zest and herbs are ground up. This will smell very fresh. Place in a small bowl and toss with the melted butter. Firmly press the herb mixture on the racks over the mustard.
Immediately place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes for rare, 25 minutes for medium. Remove from the oven, cover, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing to serve.
Mascarpone Creamed Spinach
You can heat the spinach in the microwave to thaw quickly if necessary. Everyone loves creamed spinach. The luscious Italian cream cheese makes this dish a snap. If you have serious creamed spinach lovers, double the recipe.
Cooking Method: Stovetop
Cook Time: 10 minutes
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (reserve 1/4 cup the liquid)
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup mascarpone
- Salt, to taste
In a medium skillet over low heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and cook until translucent, 3 minutes. Add the spinach and reserved water; cook until hot and most of the water has evaporated, 5 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone and cook a few minutes until hot. Taste for salt. Serve immediately or keep warm.
Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Weeknight Cooking, by Beth Hensperger. (c) 2008, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.