Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rack of Lamb with Rosemary Breadcrumbs

Growing up in a "meat and potatoes" house wasn't entirely boring. On Sundays, my mother changed from frying or broiling the meat to roasting it, and instead of mashing the spuds, she baked them in the grease that pooled around a predictable pageant of roasts that rotated from beef to chicken to pork to lamb and back again.

Despite the lack of any seasoning other than salt and pepper, my mother's roast lamb was always a favorite for me, and I never gave a thought to cooking it any other way. Then I married into a family of Syrian descent and learned that lamb could be ground, used as stuffing, kneaded with wheat, braised, cubed, marinated, skewered, or barbecued with spectacular results.

Most ethnic cookbooks offer several outstanding lamb dishes. The following adaptation of an old French recipe is a long-standing favorite among the lamb-a-holics in my family. This dish can be prepared ahead and popped into the oven an hour before serving.


2 Racks of Lamb                                      ¼ cup fresh rosemary, chopped
4 Tbs. Olive Oil                                        6-8 garlic cloves, peeled
8 Tbs. Unsalted Butter                             4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
Dijon Mustard                                          Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Trim as much fat from lamb as possible. Place lamb on waxed paper. Using a spreading spatula, thinly coat each rack with Dijon mustard. Lightly salt and pepper each rack.

One round loaf of bread (Tuscan or Boule, e.g.,) should give you four cups of breadcrumbs. Cut off the crust and reserve for another use. Tear bread and prepare in food processor, dropping in garlic cloves until well blended.

Melt butter. Place in large mixing bowl with olive oil, parsley, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Empty breadcrumb mixture into bowl and combine well with olive oil mixture. Pat breadcrumb mixture over both racks of lamb, pressing to adhere.

Place lamb in roasting pan lined with foil. Bake at 425° for one half hour. Lower heat to 350° and continue cooking for another half hour for medium well-done. Serves 4.

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