Lucky for us it was too wet and muggy to light the charcoal to grill a rack of lamb for a romantic dinner at home. Time to fall back on indoor appliances. To develop a great kitchen crust we cranked the oven as high as it goes and preheated an ovenproof skillet to as hot as it would get. While all this happened and Min made icy cold martinis, meat prep was easy.
We had a croyovac-sealed frenched rack of lamb from Costco and it’s fantastic. Each pack has about 8 bones and weighs around 2 pounds, plenty for a dinner for 2. Once removed from the plastic and patted dry with paper towel, you can go in a few directions with lamb, but for us, the already-made container of our salsa verde mixed in with some pulsed-up bread crumbs made the decision easy.
Min’s Italian salsa verde is like a chimichurri with anchovy and capers, or like a tangy pesto using a combo of herbs, but without the cheese and pine nuts. The sauce is so versatile that it’s a perfect pitch with everything — meats and fish, vegetables, even potato salad. No batch will be the same, either. You can mix up the herbs any way you like based on what you have in the drawer or in the garden. If you love your food processor, salsa verde is for you.
Back to the crust. Place the rack fat side down in the hot skillet (dry, no need to oil) and sear the meat until the color turns brown, but not burnt, a good 5 to 8 minutes. Don’t be bashful about searing the fat side. You need to start developing the crust before spreading the salsa verde/breadcrumb mix over it. Once seared use tongs to turn the rack over in the skillet and generously spread the mix all over the meat. Using an oven mitt or potholder carefully place the skillet in the oven. Test for doneness using an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the chop. We remove the rack from the skillet when we see 125 degrees for medium rare. This takes 10 to 15 minutes depending on how long the meat has been out of the refrigerator (and how hot your oven can actually get). Let the rack rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
- 1 rack of lamb
- Kosher salt and coarse black pepper
- 3 or 4 slices of Italian bread
- ½ cup or so of salsa verde
Preheat oven to 550 degrees.
Preheat an ovenproof skillet in the oven or on the stovetop until very hot.
Remove lamb rack from packaging and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
In a food processor pulse the bread into crumbs and place in a bowl. Add the salsa verde and mix into a paste. Set aside.
Place the lamb rack fat side down (so that rib bones are pointing up at you) and sear the lamb until well caramelized, at least 5 to 8 minutes. Flip the rack over and spread the mixture generously over the meat with a spoon. Using a pot holder place the skillet in the oven.
After 10 to 12 minutes check for doneness with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chop. For medium rare, remove the rack from the skillet at 125 degrees. Set the rack on a cutting board to rest 5 minutes before separating the chops and serving.