If you are planning to cook rack of lamb, it’s best to get your maths right before you go out to the shops. It is not difficult. There are eight chops on each rack. If there are less, it is either rack of (insert other animal name here) or somebody has been scoffing what is rightfully yours. If there are more than eight then it is rack of (insert name of animal that lives near a leaky nuclear power plant here). The maths problem comes about because rack of lamb is a “three chops each” dish.
So, if there are two of you dining – you little pigs! If you are three – draw straws and if there are four, you just have to get a rack and a half. With the maths out of the way, here’s how to prepare truly delicious Herbed Rack of Wicklow Lamb for what was meant to be four people.
- A rack and a half of lamb (12 bones)
- Dijon mustard to cover the meat
- Panko breadcrumbs (or regular if you don’t have a big bag of panko handy)
- A big handful of fresh parsley
- Half a big handful of fresh thyme
- A couple of tablespoons of good olive oil
- Salt and pepper to season (what else?)
First, score the fat on the racks into nice diagonal diamonds.
Fry the racks on a dry pan, starting with the fat side down. The lamb fat will suffice for the frying. Brown it on as many sides as you can get to sit on the pan.
While the meat is frying, put the parsley, thyme, breadcrumbs, olive oil, salt and pepper into a blender.
There is no need to take the stalks off the parsley. Don’t leave the stalks on the thyme.
Blitz the mixture until you have a paste of a lovely high green colour. Next, paint the racks with the mustard. I didn’t season the meat as there is some salt and pepper in the herb crust and the dijon mustard is pretty high in salt too. No need to go overboard on salt!
Next, apply the herb mixture to the mustard covered racks.
When the racks are covered, place a strip of cooking foil over the ends of the bones (to prevent burning) and pop them into the oven at 200ºC for 20 minutes.
Take them out and let them rest, without picking at the delicious crust, for a further 10 minutes.
I served this with mashed potatoes and green beans. One of our expected diners failed to arrive. You don’t need a degree in maths to work out what we did with the three spare ribs.
Some of the more gastronomically focussed blogs (I mean Stefan’s) put a deal of thought into choosing a wine to perfectly match the dish. In this case, I choose from what is left in our rapidly depleting wine rack. Our annual trip to France was put off this year and we are beginning to feel the effects.
So the ‘perfect’ wine to go with this delicious herbed rack of lamb is Chateau Petit Gravet 2010. This is also to serve as a gentle reminder to anybody coming around to ours for dinner. Bring some wine, for pity’s sake!