Lamb is certainly one of my favorite meats and within that, rack of lamb is almost definitely my favorite cut. I know that sounds a bit non-committal, it’s just now and then a lamb shank recipe will blow me away, but certainly of the quicker cuts to cook, and this time of year, rack of lamb wins hands down. True, it’s not the cheapest cut, but it pays for itself in how tasty and tender it is. Here I have coated it with a garlic-herb crumb crust, with some almond meal and lemon zest, held on with a little honey that all come together to add a deliciously aromatic, slightly sweet topping to an already great dish.
The crumb mixture is pretty quick to mix together, then it’s just a case of scoring the fat on the rack of lamb, rubbing on a bit of honey as ‘glue’ (that’s also lovely taste-wise) and sticking on the crumbs. Then rest it in an oven dish so the crust is at the top and pop it in to roast. The exact roasting time will depend on how pink you like your meat and I admit I probably did mine a little pinker than I would generally go for, but it was so delicious we didn’t mind at all. The crumbs will probably fall off a bit as you cut the lamb, but don’t worry, just serve them up and eat them alongside, they’re delicious and you don’t want to waste them.
Here I used a half-rack of lamb which I have never had a problem getting a butcher, independent or in-store, to cut for me as there was just the two of us (well, plus a toddler who was apparently a fan too). If you are cooking for four then just get a whole rack and double the quantities of everything else since you’ll have twice the area to cover. Cooking time will be a little longer with a whole rack but not by too much.
You can go for a wide range of sides with the dish, from roast vegetables to mash, or some nice steamed asparagus or broccoli. You probably don’t want anything too strong in flavor since the flavors with this lamb are relatively delicate but still distinct.
It might not seem light a typical toddler dish, but my son loved trying little bits of the lamb and the crumbs. Often he struggles eating lamb as he has to work at it a bit more, but this is so tender it almost melts in your mouth and he happily came back for more. As you can imagine I had mixed feelings of being glad he liked it and thinking ‘I want some left for me too!’ It’s the sort of dish I would also say was a great introduction to lamb if you’ve not had it before as it’s so tender, the crust gives it that slight sweetness and it’s not as ‘lamby’ as some other cuts. I know that sounds a bit odd, but hopefully makes sense and what I’m getting at is do give it a try, even if you are not so sure about lamb. It’s both easy and thoroughly delicious.
The easy, crunchy crust goes well with the delicious rack of lamb.
- 1/2 rack of lamb
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 clove of garlic crushed
- 1/2 lemon zest (ie from 1/2 lemon)
- 1 tsp rosemary finely chopped, around 1 sprig
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 2 tbsp almond meal ground almonds
- 1 tsp honey
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
Score the fat side of the rack of lamb so that you cut into the fat but not all the way through to the meat.
In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, crushed garlic, lemon zest, rosemary, parsley and almond meal.
Rub the honey over the fat side of the lamb, sit it in a roasting dish so the fat side is up and carefully press the crumbs all over the fat. If you have any extra, you can also put some on the side.
Roast for around 30mins for pink, or around 10min more to be med-well done.
Allow the lamb to rest 5-10min before cutting between the bones into cutlets.
Quantities are for half a rack, enough for two; double all quantities if using a whole rack for four with only a few more minutes cooking time.