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Dining Tip: Thomas Keller's Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb

A coating of panko crumbs and seasonings of mustard, rosemary and crushed anchovies add a surprisingly subtle touch to the lamb

Posted: February 2, 2015

Note: This recipe originally appeared as in the April 30, 2010 issue of Wine Spectator, "Thomas Keller."

Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb

Recipe adapted from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home: Family-Style Recipes

• 2 frenched, 8-bone racks of lamb (2 to 21/4 pounds each)
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground pepper
• Canola oil
• Garlic confit (instructions below)
• 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
• 3 tablespoons honey
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 3 to 5 anchovy fillets, rinsed, dried and minced
• 11/2 cups ground panko bread crumbs
• 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1 tablespoon minced rosemary
• Gray salt or coarse sea salt

1. Score the fat covering the lamb in a cross-hatch pattern, taking care not to cut into the meat. Season the racks on all sides with salt and pepper.

2. Set a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Heat a thin layer of canola oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Put one rack fat-side down in the pan and sear until golden brown, 11/2 to 2 minutes; carefully move the lamb as it sears to brown as much of the fat as possible. Transfer the lamb to the roasting rack, meat side up. Drain the fat, and reheat the pan, adding fresh oil. Repeat with the remaining rack.

3. To make garlic confit: Peel 1 cup of garlic cloves. and place them in a saucepan. Cover them completely with canola oil, and cook gently over medium-low heat (no bubbles should break the surface) for 40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the cloves are completely tender when pierced by a knife. This works best with a heat diffuser, or move the pan partially off the heat to keep oil from boiling. Allow the garlic to cool in the oil. Unused confit may be refrigerated in the oil up to 1 week.

4. Combine the mustard and honey in a small bowl; set aside. Combine the butter, 4 cloves garlic confit and anchovies in a small food processor and puree until smooth.

5. Transfer the puree to a medium bowl, and stir in the bread crumbs, parsley and rosemary to combine. Do not overmix.

6. Brush the mustard mixture over the fat and meat, but not the underside of the racks. Spread the bread crumbs evenly over the racks, pressing gently and patting them so the crumbs adhere. (The lamb can be refrigerated on the rack in the roasting pan for up to 6 hours, but remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting.)

7. Position the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425° F.

8. Put the lamb in the oven, meat side toward the back, and roast for 25 to 35 minutes, until the temperature in the center of the meat registers 128° F to 130° F. Let the racks rest on the rack in a warm place for 20 minutes for medium-rare.

9. Carve each rack into four 2-bone chops, and arrange them on a platter. Sprinkle with gray salt or sea salt and serve, with Artichoke Mustard on the side if desired. Serves 8.

See Artichoke Mustard recipe in this menu.

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