- 2 (14- to 16-ounce) frenched racks of lamb, with 8 bones per rack
- 3 medium fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 bunch fresh thyme, leaves stripped and coarsely chopped
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
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Roasted racks of lamb are the ultimate dinner-party dish, with a wow factor that’s easy to achieve since many butchers sell the racks frenched and ready to go. Chef Neal Fraser of Grace and BLD restaurants in Los Angeles (both sadly closed as of December 2017) gave us this simple recipe. The racks marinate overnight in thyme and rosemary for subtle yet full-flavored chops. Try serving these with tasty Olive Potatoes or Farro Risotto with Asparagus and Fava Beans.
What to buy: The term frenched refers to a way of trimming the lamb racks so that the bone end of each chop is cleanly exposed. You can ask your butcher to do this for you.
Tips for Lamb
Lamb is readily available in most supermarkets. The freshest lamb will have soft pink and red flesh with marbling throughout. Avoid anything that looks grey in color.
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Wrap the lamb in it in its original packaging, airtight, with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. From there, you can also place the meat in an airtight freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Chops and loins fare best when wrapped individually.
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Lamb can be defrosted in three ways. As with most meat, refrigeration is the most effective, albeit slowest method. Lamb meat defrosted in the fridge can actually be re-frozen before or after cooking, though there may be a loss of moisture. If you’re in a pinch, lamb can be defrosted in the microwave, or placed in a bowl of cold water (which should be replaced every 30 minutes).
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- 1Using a sharp knife, trim all but a thin layer of fat from the lamb, then carefully score the fat side of each rack in a crosshatch pattern. Combine herbs with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and rub the mixture all over the lamb. Season well with freshly ground black pepper, place the racks in a baking dish, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
- 2Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Uncover lamb and season well with salt. Let sit at room temperature while the oven heats, at least 20 minutes, then blot lightly with a paper towel.
- 3Heat a large oven-safe frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. When hot, add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- 4Place lamb racks in the pan, fat side down, and sear until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stand racks up in the pan by “nesting,” or propping one rack against the other with the bones crisscrossing and the seared, fat-covered sides facing out.
- 5Place the pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325°F. Continue roasting until the internal temperature of each rack is 130°F for medium rare, about 5 to 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and allow to rest 7 to 10 minutes before carving. Cut each rack between the bones into 4 double chops and serve.
Beverage pairing: Eric Texier Côte Rôtie Vieilles Vignes, France. This classic and tasty cut of lamb deserves a great partner, so treat yourself to this fine Syrah from one of the famed schist and granite slopes of France’s northern Rhône. The wine’s evocation of violets, herbs, roasted meats, and blackberry will make the lamb sing.