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Rack of Lamb

At The Cook's Atelier, we think lamb is really special and something to be celebrated in spring.  It is the only time you'll find lamb on our menu. We like to serve it simply with fresh herbs, a little lemon zest and a scattering of early spring vegetables like baby fava beans and fresh snap peas. As a nod to Papa's origins (Kendall's husband and papa to petit Luc et Manon), we often add a Provençal twist, with mustard, black olives and breadcrumbs.

Rack of Lamb

Serves 4 to 6

2 racks of lamb (each about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds, Frenched if desired)

1 cup of minced fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, rosemary and thyme

1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced

the zest of one lemon

extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Drizzle olive oil over the racks. Using your hands, smear to coat the racks. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large sauté pan, drizzle a little olive oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Place the racks in the pan, and cook until crispy brown on both sides, about 7 minutes.  If the racks seem crowded, use two pans, or do one rack at a time.

Remove the racks from the heat and sprinkle with the fresh herbs, garlic and lemon zest.  Place in the preheated oven and cook until the rack reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees F, about 10 to 12 minutes, or 12 to 15 minutes for fattier racks. Allow racks to rest 10 minutes before carving.

For the Provençal version:

Combine the fresh herbs, 2 cups of fresh breadcrumbs, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 cup of black olives and 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Sauté as above.

Remove the racks from the pan and carefully brush with mustard on the section right over the eyes of the chops and the section directly in front of the eyes of the chops.  Be careful not to spread the mustard on the bones because it will burn.  Gently pat the herb mixture on the mustard, and place racks on an oiled roasted pan, crust side up and cook as above.