Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb
Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home (Artisan, 2009)
"Rack of lamb is a special dish—impressive to bring to the table and carve, tender, and delicious. We coat the racks with buttered bread crumbs seasoned with anchovy, rosemary, and garlic. The anchovies add a salty, savory depth, rather than an anchovy taste, to the breading. The racks can be seared and coated with the crumbs up to 6 hours ahead, then roasted when you are ready."
- 2 8-bone racks of lamb (2 to 2 1/4 pounds each), with the bone end cleaned, or “frenched”
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Canola oil
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cloves garlic, pureed in small food processor
- 3 to 5 anchovy fillets, salt packed or oil packed, rinsed, dried, and minced
- 1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs or ground panko crumbs
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced rosemary
- Gray salt or coarse sea salt
Score the fat covering the lamb in a 1/2-inch crosshatch pattern; be careful not to cut into the meat. Season the racks on all sides with salt and pepper.
Set a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Heat some canola oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Put 1 rack fat side down in the pan and sear until golden brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes; carefully move the lamb as it sears to brown as much of the fat as possible. (It is best to sauté 1 rack at a time, so the temperature of the pan doesn’t drop dramatically.) Transfer the lamb to the roasting rack, meat side up. Drain off the fat, reheat the pan, adding fresh oil, and sear the remaining rack.
Combine the mustard and honey in a small bowl; set aside. Combine the butter, garlic, and anchovies in a small food processor and purée until smooth. Transfer the purée to a medium bowl and stir in the bread crumbs, parsley, and rosemary to combine. Do not overmix; the mixture should be moist, but it may not all come together.
Brush the mustard mixture over the fat and meat (do not coat the underside of the racks). Spread the bread crumbs evenly over the racks, pressing gently and patting them so the crumbs adhere. (The lamb can be refrigerated, on the rack in the roasting pan, for up to 6 hours; remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting it.)
Position an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Put the lamb in the oven, with the meat side toward the back, and roast for 25 to 35 minutes, until the temperature in the center of the meat registers 128ºF to 130ºF. Let the racks rest on the rack in a warm place for about 20 minutes for medium-rare.
Carve each rack into four 2-bone chops and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with gray salt and serve.