Spring can't arrive fast enough for all of us here in New England. Slogging through this winter set us up to welcome any and every indication of Spring. For me one of the best is the arrival in the market of Spring lamb. When I first moved to Boston I had to get use to the sight of the lamb hanging forlornly - at least to my California eyes - in the windows of the many butcher shops in the Italian North End. Now most of those shops are gone but I can still find some good lamb in the local stores.
Here is one of my favorite Spring recipes that I suggest for Mom. Or just make up any reason to celebrate and serve:
Rack of Lamb with a Peach Ginger Herb Crust
My version of rack of lamb has a just hint of sweetness in the crumb crust. This is a straightforward and surprisingly easy dish to prepare for any occasion. When buying the lamb, ask the butcher to “French” the rack (cut away some of the meat and fat between the ribs to expose part of the bones) and trim the excess fat.
1 rack of lamb, about 1 3/4 pounds, with 8 ribs
1/2 cup bread crumbs, divided
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 tablespoon peach ginger jam
1/3 cup olive oil
1. Set a shelf in the middle position of the oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment for easy cleanup. Have on hand an instant read thermometer.
2. Score the fat side of the rack of lamb: With a knife, make shallow diagonal slashes 1 inch apart over the top, taking care not to cut through to the meat. Turn and make slashes in the opposite direction to form a crisscross pattern. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.
3. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of the breadcrumbs and the chopped parsley.
4. In a mini-blender, pulse the remaining 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, garlic, rosemary, ginger, mustard, and peach ginger jam together until blended. Add the olive oil and blend for 30 seconds longer. (Alternatively, place 1/4 cup of the breadcrumbs, garlic, rosemary, ginger, mustard, and jam in a bowl and mix together. Whisk in the olive oil until well blended.)
5. Pat 2 tablespoons of the mustard breadcrumb mixture over the meaty part of the underside of the rack. On a baking sheet, place the lamb with the curved side (fat) facing up. Pat the remaining breadcrumb mixture on top of the meat. Sprinkle with the dried breadcrumbs and parsley mixture.
6. Roast the lamb in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat away from the bone registers 135 degrees for medium rare.
7. Remove from oven and let lamb rest for 10 minutes. Slice along the bone to make 8 chops.