I know it just isn’t right to talk about such cute little creatures in any way where they will be harmed or even, God-forbid, eaten! Oh well. Yes, it is coming up on Lamb season where we live. That means tasty treats with crusty crispy outsides and tender succulent insides. Lamb is a wonderful meat. I fondly remember my parents getting a lamb every year at the county fair. To some lovely 4-H youngster who put their hard work into raising the young creature, I thank you for opening my eyes to a lifetime of enjoyment. It never went to waste. At least not when I was at the table. My siblings on the other hand hated it. Not just disliked it, flat out wouldn’t eat the stuff. They missed out and I on the other hand, began…and still do.appreciate it every time I eat it.
I remember my Dad butterflying the leg of Lamb and coating the inside with a mixture of Dijon mustard, I won’t mention any names but,”Perhaps do you have any?” A sprig of rosemary from the garden and liberal amounts of salt and pepper. He would grill it until the crust from the mustard browned, flip it, turn down the heat and slowly let it cook, rest on the counter covered in foil. Sliced thin and served with oven baked veggies, I was in heaven. Alright, I was a teenage boy who could eat half a house, but I loved it.
As time moved on, I got away from Lamb. Maybe because of the cost? Perhaps the college student budget wasn’t enough to mosey on down to the meat market and grab a rack for what would end up being a light snack for the roommates. No, unfortunately during the Mac and Cheese years I suffered. If I would have known that I could use the trimmings from the rack for a wicked Lamb, bacon and mint sausage I might have reconsidered the absence. Enough said, we thought we would share a nice dish of Rack of Lamb crusted with a Red Walnut, garlic, mixed herbs and Panko bread crumbs. Enjoy.
Rack of Lamb with Herb Citrus Rub
Rack of Lamb
Variety of herbs (rosemary, sage, parsley, marjoram) whatever you have in your garden
Citrus zest – blood orange, lemon or orange
Good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper
Panko bread crumbs
You may buy your rack of lamb already frenched or you may want to do it yourself. We will show you the
way we do it. You cut the top fat layer off and then cut as much fat off as you wish. We chose to leave a
thin layer. Then cut all the fat away from the bones and scrape them with a small knife. There is a really
thin layer of sinew that is important to cut off as it is very tough and will make it hard for you to cut and eat
your lamb. It takes a little patience to cut and scrape the bones but it’s worth it.
If your lamb is frenched it is best to leave out of refrigerator 30-45 minutes before cooking.
To make the citrus crust:
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup chopped herbs of choice
Zest of 1 blood orange and 1-2 tbsp of juice
2-3 cloves crushed and chopped garlic
Mix the above ingredients in a bowl and add enough olive oil to make a paste
Add a big pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper
Place the Rack of Lamb on a piece of parchment on a sheet pan and using your fingers press the citrus crust
firmly on the meat side until there is a nice thick layer. Place in pre-heated 400 degree oven for 15-25 min.
Check after 15’ with your thermometer, meat is med-rare roughly at 140-145. Cook until desired temp. rare
is roughly 130-135 and medium is roughly 160. Loosely tent with a piece of foil and let meat rest 5 min.
before slicing. Enjoy with some roasted potatoes, a fresh salad and some fine red wine!