Mike Tomkins’ Perfect Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb
This recipe for herb-crusted rack of lamb by Mike Tomkins is all about good quality meat, fresh herbs and cooking the lamb perfectly. The trick to getting beautifully pink medium rare lamb, while allowing the fat to render and the crust to become nice and crisp, is to slowly bring it up to a temperature of 55°C.
Whole rack of lamb – French trimmed, 8 bones
10g Dijon mustard
20g fresh tarragon
20g fresh basil
50g fresh parsley
100g fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
A quick note when choosing your meat for this dish: I would strongly suggest going to your local butchers for your rack of lamb. It’s one of those dishes where the quality will show and you can really taste the difference! The meat you get from the butchers will have a dry fat cap on the lamb. This makes it a lot easier to render and crisp up than supermarket lamb.
- Start by preheating your oven to 190°C.
- Take your lamb out of the fridge and pop it on the counter for an hour or so before cooking to allow it to reach room temperature. This is something that should be applied to all meats but especially in a dish like this where you want to render the fat down.
- Take a sharp knife and score the lamb deep into the fat, but take care not to pierce the flesh. Work in a diagonal pattern and then repeat so the fat is scored in a criss cross pattern. Season the fat well with salt.
- Add 1 tsp olive oil to a heavy bottomed, oven proof pan. Place the rack of lamb fat-side down into the pan while it is still off the heat, then turn the heat on low. It’s very important to slowly bring the pan up to a medium heat – this ensures that the lamb fat renders all the way through. We’ve all seen enough Masterchef episodes to know that unrendered fat is a big no no!
- Slowly render the fat by keeping the lamb fat-side down in the pan on a low to medium heat for around 15 minutes. The fat should be golden but the meat of the lamb very much still raw. Don’t rush this step as this will give you a beautiful end result!
- While the fat is rendering, blend your parsley, tarragon, basil and breadcrumbs together with salt and pepper. Empty the mixture onto a plate that is at least the same size as the rack of lamb.
- Add a large knob of butter to the pan and transfer into the oven, keeping the lamb fat-side down. Regularly take the temperature using your Thermapen until the internal temperature reaches 43 – 45°C, this should take between 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, flip the rack of lamb and brush the fat with Dijon mustard before rolling in the herb and breadcrumb mixture. Transfer the lamb back to the pan with the herb-crusted fat facing upwards. Place back in the oven and continue to roast. Be very careful here as overdone lamb is nearly as bad as unrendered fat! For the perfect medium-rare lamb, the internal temperature should read 55°C and the breadcrumbs will be golden. This should take around another 8-10 minutes to achieve. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the lamb to rest on a rack or tray.
- If you’re anything like me, at this stage, you’re desperate to cut into your perfectly cooked rack of lamb but this next step is vital! Let the meat rest – this allows it to reabsorb its juices and guarantees melt-in-the-mouth lamb when you do carve. Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes.
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