Chef Wesley True of Montgomery, Alabama's True shares his Easter secrets. Rack of lamb is actually pretty simple if you remember three main points.
1. Home cooks often want to marinate lamb, but I've never seen that in a restaurant. Seasoning only with salt and pepper lets the flavor of the lamb come through.
2. You want the skillet smoking hot. Put the lamb fat side down in the skillet and leave it alone for a minute until it's brown. Then flip it and let it brown; then flip it again. This crisps up the fat and gives a nice brown exterior while preventing the edges from overcooking in the oven.
3. Baking lamb at 300° keeps the meat from tightening up so that it comes out very tender. Putting the lamb on a wire rack allows the hot air to circulate around the lamb.
Rack of Lamb with Carrot Salad
Most racks are sold "frenched," meaning the meat and fat have been removed from the upper bones. You can trim the thick layer of fat on the outside of the rack to 1/4 inch for quicker cooking. Or don't. "Fat adds wonderful flavor," Wesley says.
- 1 (1 1/2-lb.) frenched rack of lamb (8 ribs)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 carrot
- 2 bunches frisée torn
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, torn
- Orange-Pecan Vinaigrette
Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 300°. Rub lamb with 2 tsp. olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. Cook lamb in 2 Tbsp. hot oil in a large skillet over high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until browned, turning twice. Place lamb on a lightly greased wire rack in a roasting pan. Bake at 300° for 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 140° to 145° (medium-rare) or to desired degree of doneness. Remove lamb from pan; cover with aluminum foil, and let stand 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cut carrot lengthwise into very thin, ribbon-like strips using a vegetable peeler. Toss frisée, mint, and carrot strips with desired amount of Orange-Pecan Vinaigrette.
4. Slice lamb into chops. Serve with salad and remaining Orange-Pecan Vinaigrette.