Don’t be afraid of rack of lamb

Rack of lamb
Rack of lamb (Jessica Grann)

By Jessica Grann

For most of my adult life, rack of lamb terrified me. It seemed like the sort of meal that only a gourmet chef could even try to attempt.

I’m happy to say that I could not have been more wrong. It is actually one of the simplest and best-tasting entrées that you can make. Rack of lamb isn’t cheap, but it’s worth the splurge for a special occasion.

  • 1 3-3 ½ pound rack of lamb roast
  • 2-3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Two hours before cooking, rub the olive oil, garlic and fresh rosemary into the roast.
You can simply drizzle the oil, place the fresh rosemary sprigs and garlic into your hand and rub in into the meat.

Sprinkle with salt and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours. It’s important that lamb and beef be at room temperature before cooking in order to get the best flavor.

Set your oven to 400 degrees and place the rack in the upper third of the oven.

A cast iron skillet will give the best results for this recipe. Place the rack (or racks, sometimes there are two per package) rib side up and cook for 30-35 minutes. This helps the outer layer of fat to sear and creates a beautiful color on the edges.

Check with a digital instant-read thermometer by choosing a meaty place in the middle of the meat. Medium rare lamb should be at 125 degrees. I prefer lamb cooked to medium, which is 140 degrees. You can see in the photos that my lamb is just slightly pink. You should cook to your preference, and check the lamb at 25 minutes if you wish to have rare meat. I don’t suggest cooking rack of lamb to well done — it is such a good cut of meat, and overcooking can diminish the overall quality.

Remove from the oven, flip so that the rib side is down and let rest in the skillet for 10 minutes before removing to a cutting board to cut and serve. The meat has a natural template, so simply slice between each rib.

This recipe serves 6-8 people depending on portion size. I serve this meal with blanched green beans and roasted potatoes — it does not need competitive side dishes.

I made it just recently, and I can tell you that it is hands down the best meal I have made this entire year.

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