Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Special! Mint-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Honey Vinaigrette

This mint-crusted rack of lamb was inspired by a lamb steak recipe we did a few years ago, which featured a minted honey vinaigrette. I loved how the sweet, herbaceous dressing worked with the subtly gamey meat, and that memory filled me with confidence as I planned out this video.

Lamb is obviously a popular Easter menu option, and while I have no problem with you slathering your meat with green mint jelly…really, I don’t…my mom’s fridge always had a jar of the stuff…I do hope you’ll consider this slightly higher-end application.

I know some will be extra curious about the blanching of the mint, but I’m afraid my less-than-scientific answer may leave you unsatisfied. I learned a long time ago that if you give your green herbs a few-second blanch before using, the heat locks in the color, and they stay nice and green in whatever you’re preparing.

Of course you can Google for more information, or better yet, you can simply make the recipe in blissful ignorance. Speaking of bliss, one of my favorite things about rack of lamb is just how easy they are to cook. As long as you own a digital thermometer, you’re going to have to try really hard not to get pink, juicy meat. They’re not cheap, but there’s almost no waste, and the meat is mild and very tender.

By the way, yes, those are sweet potato tots! And no, I can’t show you how to make those at home. The recession has hit the U.S. tater tot industry very hard, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to put any more of those fine folks out of work. Anyway, if you’re looking for an easy and impressive option for Easter dinner, I hope you give this a try. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 Portions (*note: I only did one rack for 2 portions, so amounts in video may look off):

2 racks of lamb, trimmed, about 1.25 pounds each
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp vegetable oil for searing meat

For the crumbs:
1 cup mint leaves, blanched, squeezed dry
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste
1 or 2 tbsp finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

For the mustard mixture:
1/4 cup regular or herb Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey

For the honey vinaigrette:
2 tsp honey
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

View the complete recipe

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you purposely leave off the mustard from the honey vinaigrette ingredient list?

Chef John said...

oops! thanks!

Chris said...

Looks great John!!!!! HOW ABOUT SOME PORKETTA??!! :)

Anonymous said...

Is there any other kind of meat that this would go well with?
Looks great :)

Chef John said...

Yes! Works with any roasts and any herbs!

Anonymous said...

The lamb looks amazing, but are those sweet potato tots?!? Please say you're going to demo those!

Morgan said...

And puhlease tell me you are going to demo those sweet potato tots!

CBR Beast said...

Hey Chef John,

Love your videos. And I'm intrigued to try Lamb for the first time for my Easter Dinner. Could you crust a Leg of Lamb instead of the Crown of Lamb? I just was curious because the Leg is a bit more my price range. ;)

MattyMattMatt said...

If only other people in my household would appreciate lamb :(

Kelly said...

Looks amazing! I've only done Lamb Rack with a Pesto Crust, Mint crust sounds so logical. Love the look of that herb mustard too.

Daniel said...

Hi John,
Iknow fresh is always better, however getting fresh mint here is not easy yet. Just wondering if you feel i'll get similar results by maybe mixing mint and maybe parsley? or just go all dried mint? If one uses dried, would you change anything on your recipe, i.e. liquids to moisten it up a bit? Thanks and greets from Austria!

Chef John said...

I'm not sure about the dried mint, as it is quite different than using the fresh, but you could certainly go with parsley too. Id mix the mint into the mustard mixture the day before so that it hydrates better. Enjoy!

Mikkel F. Lerche said...

I'm gonna do this with beef filet and swap out the mint with parsley :P

photodude77 said...

Is there a digital thermomometer that you would recommend?

photodude77 said...

Is there a digital thermometer that your recommend?

AFB said...

Hi Chef John! The recipe sounds and looks delicious. One question: does one really cut a rack in half with 5 bones on one side and 3 in the other? I wasn't sure whether you wanted one portion to be larger, or there is something related to the rack anatomy that makes one end bigger/meatier than the other.

Thanks as always!

Chef John said...

Depends on how it was cut. The meat near the longer skinny bones is much thicker, so I try to cut the rack in half, based on the meat amounts, not the bones. It's usually 4 and 4, but sometimes it's 5/3!

Anonymous said...

I was looking for a mint plant for my garden but I saw at least 4 types of mint.... spearmint, chocolate mint and a few more... which one is best for cooking?

Daniel said...

John! Mission accomplished! Just finishing the last drops of my incredible 2004 Brunello di Multacino whilst my wife runs the kids to the playground (i'm on clean up duty!). I served mine with sauteed spinach and went nuts making a potato au gratin (served on another plate so the tastes didn't mix too much). My wife wanted the gratin. It kinda worked, but the taste combo was very contrasting. Next time will be simple couscous or maybe lyon style fried potatos.

Good news: my wife found freshmint at this spring market, but taste wasn't as intense as we thought. BTW i used the water i blanched the leaves in to make a kinda ice-tea mixed with rosehip and fresh peals of lemon zest. Wife was impressed (she doesn't drink wine, which means more for me!).

BTW just wanted to share, i made a honey dijon mustard "glue" with fresh parsely and chives as i had them already chopped before my wife found the mint. i put them in the mustard and let it sit over night. The taste was omfg amazing, but we were shocked at how the cooked mint-bread mixture was so subtle - and the mustard glue was very strong. Our lamb was bloody expensive and so young, that it didn't taste gamey at all. We also paid a fortune for it. 3 small crowns for 52 Euro. (our butcher took our order wrongly and instead of one rack, he ordered 4 and my wife was able to talk him down to 3).

Anyway many thanks for a very successful Easter Monday lunch. Even my 6 year old daughter had 2 pieces, even if she scraped off the coating.

Dan said...

This was great on Easter Sunday. Skipped blanching the mint, but it stayed green anyway. Used the rest of the mint to make Mojitos ;)

Jerry said...

Well, I got started with the Chicken Soup. I've made it 4 times, now. Then I discovered this lamb deal. What am I gonna do with all those old recipes? I wanna get back in the kitchen again! You're the greatest! I can't weight... (a little Freudian slip, there, maybe). Thanks, John!

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

Can you do this with other kinds of meat? Like a ribs?

FoodLens said...

About blanching your greens before using them... If you blanch them in salted water, you will be activating the chlorophyll and thus making it vibrant green. You do this mainly for aesthetics but you lose most of the flavour in the water.

You can skip the blanching process without losing too much coloration of the greens by not OVER-working the green. You will have a much more potent mint flavour. But then again, maybe you do want to cut down on the mint flavour in this recipe to balance everything.

I thought I would share this information I got from a renowned Italian Chef when I was taught the basics of basil pesto.

Enjoy!

1Bigg_ER said...

I think I speak for everyone when I say "WE WANT THE SWEET POTATO TOTS TUTORIAL!
It is our Food wish and we're on foodwishes and you'll grant us our wish...
Thank you in advance Chef John..

Mexican Climber said...

Chef John, why am I not subscribed in your channel anymore? And why I can't subscribe? i tried to post this comment there, and youtube said you blocked me. Why? My nick there is marcusmello69. Thanks for your attention

Emilia J. said...

Hi Chef John! I'm planning to make this recipe for Easter, and personally I love medium cooked, but in courtesy of other guests, I have to have it well done. I want to cook the lamb in between well done and medium, so it will still be nice and juicy, but not overly pink. What internal temperature would that be? Thank you and I love your recipes!

Unknown said...

I am having hard time getting mints from my local market, can I replace it with rosemary instead?

Chef John said...

Yes, but don't use to much it's much stronger than mint.

Platzchen said...

Hi John, the lamb looks really great. I will try it this Xmas. If I want to marinade the lamb overnight, can i leave the crumbs mixture and the mustard mixture over the lamb overnight? Thank you.

Platzchen said...

Hi John. The lamb looks great. I will make it this Xmas. If i want to marinate the lamb overnight, can i leave the crumbs mixture and the mustard mixture over the lamb overnight? Thank you.

Chef John said...

Sure!