Mark Bittman’s perfect holiday rack of lamb

Don’t be intimated by this dish. According to Mark Bittman, it can be a no-hassle, easy holiday entree. Here, the author of “How to Cook Everything” shares three simple and savory recipes for the perfect rack of lamb.

Rack of lamb with pimenton, garlic and olive oil
Servings:

Makes: 4 servings; Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

    • 1 rack of lamb (about 2 pounds)
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (pimentón)
    • 1 medium slice rye bread, broken into pieces
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 450° F. Trim the lamb of excess fat, but leave a layer of fat over the meat. Cut about halfway down the bones between the chops; this allows the meat between them to become crisp.2. Put the oil, garlic, paprika and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a food processor and purée; add the bread and pulse a few times to make rough crumbs. Rub this mixture over the meat side of the rack and sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Put it in a roasting pan and put in the oven; roast for 18 to 20 minutes and insert an instant-read meat thermometer straight in from one end into the meatiest part. If it reads 125° F or more, remove the lamb immediately. If it reads less, put the lamb back for 5 minutes, no more. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve, separating the ribs by cutting down straight through them.

Tips:

Always trim the excess fat and roast at extremely high heat.If you get really good quality lamb, all you really need for flavoring is salt and pepper.If you've only eaten rack of lamb in restaurants, you've probably been served a whole rack, six to eight ribs, but I find even a small rack will serve three or four people if you have sides to go with it.If you're entertaining and cooking for more — cook two racks at a time; they will fit side by side in most roasting pans. (I cut each rack in half before roasting, which makes for slightly more uniform cooking and relieves the busy host from having to separate the individual servings at the last minute.)I cut most of the way down between the ribs so that more meat is exposed to intense heat and therefore becomes crisp. (Frenching the ribs, or scraping the meat off the bones to make them look neater, is counterproductive; the crisp meat on the bones is one of the joys of rack of lamb).

Roast rack of lamb with persilladeMark Bittman

Makes: 4 servings; Time: 30 minutes

1. Heat the oven to 500° F. Trim the lamb of excess fat, but leave a layer of fat over the meat. Cut about halfway down the bones between the chops; this allows the meat between them to become crisp.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients and rub over the meat side of the racks. Put them in a roasting pan and put in the oven; roast for 20 minutes and insert an instant-read meat thermometer straight in from one end into the meatiest part. If it reads 125° F or more, remove the lamb immediately. If it reads less, put the lamb back for 5 minutes, no more. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve, separating the ribs by cutting down straight through them.

Always trim the excess fat and roast at extremely high heat.

If you get really good quality lamb, all you really need for flavoring is salt and pepper.

If you've only eaten rack of lamb in restaurants, you've probably been served a whole rack, six to eight ribs, but I find even a small rack will serve three or four people if you have sides to go with it.

If you're entertaining and cooking for more — cook two racks at a time; they will fit side by side in most roasting pans. (I cut each rack in half before roasting, which makes for slightly more uniform cooking and relieves the busy host from having to separate the individual servings at the last minute.)

I cut most of the way down between the ribs so that more meat is exposed to intense heat and therefore becomes crisp. (Frenching the ribs, or scraping the meat off the bones to make them look neater, is counterproductive; the crisp meat on the bones is one of the joys of rack of lamb).

407548286048134778033091lamb, about 2 pounds each2rack2 racks of lamb, about 2 pounds eachextra virgin olive oil2tablespoon2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilSalt and freshly ground black pepperbread crumbs, preferably fresh1cup1 cup bread crumbs, preferably freshminced fresh parsley leaves0.5cup1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leavesminced garlic1teaspoon1 teaspoon minced garlic

Nine-spice rack of lambMark Bittman

Makes: 4 servings; Time: 30 minutes

Reheat the oven to 500°. In a small skillet, combine the cinnamon, sesame, fenugreek, cumin, mace, cardamom, red pepper and clove. Toast the spices over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes; shake the pan frequently. Transfer the spices to a plate to cool. Coarsely grind the spices in a spice grinder or mortar. Transfer the spices to a small bowl and stir in the nutmeg.

Using a sharp knife, score shallow X marks in the fat of the lamb racks. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of the racks. Heat 2 large ovenproof skillets over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to each skillet. When the oil is very hot, add a rack of lamb to each skillet, fat side down. Cook the lamb until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn the racks over and cook for 2 minutes on the bony side. Turn the racks again, fat side down, and transfer the skillets to the oven. Roast the racks for 15 minutes for medium rare. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Let the racks rest for 10 minutes. Carve the lamb into chops and serve.

The spice mixture can be stored in a tightly covered jar for up to 2 days.

Always trim the excess fat and roast at extremely high heat.

If you get really good quality lamb, all you really need for flavoring is salt and pepper.

If you've only eaten rack of lamb in restaurants, you've probably been served a whole rack, six to eight ribs, but I find even a small rack will serve three or four people if you have sides to go with it.

If you're entertaining and cooking for more — cook two racks at a time; they will fit side by side in most roasting pans. (I cut each rack in half before roasting, which makes for slightly more uniform cooking and relieves the busy host from having to separate the individual servings at the last minute.)

I cut most of the way down between the ribs so that more meat is exposed to intense heat and therefore becomes crisp. (Frenching the ribs, or scraping the meat off the bones to make them look neater, is counterproductive; the crisp meat on the bones is one of the joys of rack of lamb).

407548286048134778033091cardamom seeds or 1/2 teaspoon powdered cardamom1teaspoon1 teaspoon cardamom seeds or 1/2 teaspoon powdered cardamomsesame seeds1teaspoon1 teaspoon sesame seedsfenugreek seeds or powdered fenugreek1teaspoon1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds or powdered fenugreekinch piece of cinnamon stick11-inch piece of cinnamon stick1clove1 clovecumin seeds, or powdered cumin1teaspoon1 teaspoon cumin seeds, or powdered cumindry red pepper flakes0.5teaspoon1/2 teaspoon dry red pepper flakespiece nutmeg, cut into a couple of chunks0.51/2 piece nutmeg, cut into a couple of chunksmace1teaspoon1 teaspoon macethree-rib racks of lamb (2 racks, each cut in half)44 three-rib racks of lamb (2 racks, each cut in half)peanut or other oil1tablespoon1 tablespoon peanut or other oil

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