Rack of lamb is a premium cut of lamb, and this roasted crusted lamb rack recipe really makes the most of it! You’ll love the rosemary and garlic flavour in the crumb, plus my cheeky trick to ensure it doesn’t fall off.
I’m also providing a selection of serving options – including an elegant Creamy White Wine Mustard Sauce!
Crumbed Rack of Lamb
This is the first rack of lamb recipe I’ve shared, and I was torn with indecision about whether to do a classic, plainly roasted version (which I eventually did make!) or go all out with a crumbed number, reserved for special occasions.
The crumb number won out … because who doesn’t go mad over tender, juicy lamb meat with a golden crunchy crust?? (Vegetarians are excused from answering this question 😉) Especially when we load it up with rosemary and garlic flavour, with an extra savoury boost from parmesan??
In today’s rack of lamb recipe, I’m also offering up 3 different ways to serve it. This originated from the fact that the RecipeTin Family have passionate and varying opinions on this particular matter of how best to serve lamb racks! And perhaps you and your clan do too, so you can choose for yourself:
Straight up, as is, with no sauce – Perfectly cooked lamb is soooo juicy and tender, and with the crust already punching well above its weight in the flavour division, nothing else is needed!
Creamy White Wine & Mustard Sauce – Pictured above, which really takes it over the top with extra flavour. I love the colour contrast and am just a total sucker for a sauce with roast meats; or
Pea Puree – The compromise, as it were! It does double duty as a sauce / side, with the bonus that it looks so good! That vibrant colour! That velvety texture! A very restaurant-inspired way to serve lamb ……. Recipe here.
(PS In case you are wondering, my brother is an advocate of #1, I’m all for #2, and #3 is the compromise. My mother WAS in #2, then my brother swayed her to #1. She’s so easily influenced! 😂)
What is a rack of lamb?
A rack of lamb is a premium cut of meat, and is the lamb equivalent of prime rib of beef, both anatomically-speaking, and how it is regarded. It is a section of loin meat with the rib bones attached.
Since it’s the loin, the meat in a rack is the most tender, juicy cut on the animal. When sold sliced up individually between the ribs (ie. like cutting individual ribeye steaks off a prime rib), they are called lamb cutlets here in Australia.
This is what a rack of lamb looks like:
Racks of lamb are sold either “Frenched” or untrimmed with the fat cap on.
“Frenched” aka French-trimmed is a form of trimming a rack where firstly the fat cap is completely removed, leaving behind just the meat. The fat between the ribs is then removed. In a properly, perfectly Frenched rack, any excess meat and fat is also finally scraped from the ribs completely so when the rack cooks, the bones are completely bare. Fine dining restaurants almost always used Frenched lamb racks because it looks more elegant and the cuts comes served with much less fat attached. Frenched racks, however, are the most expensive because of the labour involved in preparation and because so much meat and fat is lost in the process!
“Cap on” is where the lamb rack still has a layer of fat on it, like pictured above. The extent of the layer of fat varies – the one pictured above has had most of the fat trimmed away, leaving behind just a thin layer of fat. It has also been partially Frenched, as you can see some fat has been removed from between the ribs, so that it looks more a bit more like a classic Frenched rack. Sometimes you’ll see a really thick cap of fat (and also some meat under it) which is not trimmed at all, such as the one pictured in the video.
As for which is better, it really comes down to personal preference and budget. Untrimmed with fat cap on IS juicier and has a stronger lamb flavour (because fat is where most of the meat flavour is), but obviously you have, well, fat attached to your meat! It’s also much cheaper than a Frenched rack. At Harris Farm Markets in Sydney, untrimmed racks of lamb sell for as low as $18/kg (on special) whereas my butcher sells Frenched racks of lamb for $65/kg.
That is a huge discrepancy – so yes, budget is also a big factor here!
What I (usually) do:
I buy value untrimmed then I cut off most of the fat myself. It still works out much cheaper. And it doesn’t matter if I do a scruffy job because it’s all hidden under the crumb!
Rack of Lamb crumbing ingredients
Here’s what you need for the crumb coating and the mustard spread which is used to adhere the crumb to the rack of lamb.
An egg??? Yes! Because the crumb coating is notorious for falling off with racks of lamb! Egg is the ultimate natural food glue, so adding a few teaspoons of whisked egg into the mustard really helps to make the crumb coating stick to the lamb.
It will never adhere as well as the crumb coating does on things like schnitzel and Chicken Parmigiana simply because of the shape of a rack of lamb and that we are baking rather than frying. But adding a bit of egg definitely improves the crumbing adhesion.
We only use 3 teaspoons of egg, so use the rest for your breakfast Scrambled Eggs. Easy!
I like to use a good hit of rosemary with my rack of lamb – in both the mustard spread AND the crumbing. So you can really taste it!
How to make Crumbed Rack of Lamb
It really is nice and straightforward:
Sear the seasoned rack of lamb first on all surfaces – We want good browning for flavour on the surface;
Smear with mustard mixture – For more flavour and also to act as the “glue” for the crumb. The tang of the mustard is great with the rich lamb;
Press rack on to breadcrumb mixture (see video for my technique: Underside first, press, upper side, roll!); then
The cook time for a rack of lamb will differ depending on the size, especially for Frenched vs untrimmed. As a guide, expect a small 500g/1lb Frenched rack to take around 20 minutes, whereas a larger untrimmed rack about 800g/1.6lb will take closer to 35 minutes.
Internal temperature of cooked lamb
Lamb racks are ideal cooked no more than medium rare, to make the most of the tender juicy flesh. It should be blushing pink! For precision cooking, take into account the concept of “carry-over cooking”, which is when the meat continues to rise slightly in temperature after being removed from the oven. I explain below.
Internal temperature for:
Medium rare (my preferred, a rose pink) is 57°C/135°F out of oven – it will rise to 60°C / 145°F while resting which is medium rare;
Rare (red) – 47°C / 117°F out of oven. It will rise while resting to 52°C/125°F which is rare.
Note that because of the shape and relatively small size of lamb racks, the ends of the rack will be more cooked than the middle. This is inevitable. But it actually always seems to work out, because you usually have at least a few people who prefer more well-done lamb.
And honestly, even medium lamb rack is still very tender and juicy!
Creamy White Wine & Mustard Sauce
If you’re opting for the Creamy White Wine & Mustard Sauce option, here’s what you need:
It’s just a plonk-simmer-reduce job!
Serve it on the side so people can help themselves to as much or as little sauce as they want. It is quite intensely flavoured so you don’t actually want to drown the lamb in the sauce otherwise it will overwhelm the flavour of the lamb!
What to serve with Crumbed Rack of Lamb
One of the serving options I’m sharing today is a side of roasted vegetables which are roasted at the same time as the lamb. As root vegetables take longer to cook, they need to be parboiled before tossing in oil and roasting alongside the lamb if they are to finish cooking at the same time.
However, if you skip the roast vegetables and want something a little lighter on the side, here are some options:
Spring Salad would be a wonderful option – given that spring lamb is the most prized of the year!
French Bistro Salad – a new salad I just shared, this is a leafy green salad intended to be served alongside rich mains such as this; and
lightly buttered Herb Baby Potatoes – an elegant, lighter option for a potato side that’s not drowning in cream and butter!
Otherwise, any leafy greens or steamed vegetables with a classic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing would go down a treat too.
And finally, just one parting piece of advice: Make sure you have a meat thermometer on hand. I cannot stress this enough! Don’t wing it with a rack of lamb, it’s too expensive to risk overcooking! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Rosemary Crumbed Rack of Lamb
- 1 rack of lamb (6 to 9 bones) , your choice Frenched or not (Note 1)
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Dijon Mustard “Glue”:
- 3 tsp egg , lightly whisked (Note 2)
- 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves , finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove , minced
Garlic Parmesan Crumb:
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (Note 3)
- 2 tbsp parmesan , finely grated
- 1 garlic clove , finely minced (knife, not garlic press)
- 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves , finely chopped
- 30g / 2 tbsp butter , melted
Creamy White Wine & Mustard Sauce (Optional, Note 5):
- 1 cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc, pinto gris, semillon, or any blend)
- 1 cup chicken stock , low sodium
- 1 cup heavy/thickened cream
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F (all oven types). Place shelf in the middle of the oven.
- Season: Sprinkle lamb rack with salt and pepper.
- Sear: Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy based skillet over high heat. Sear lamb rack all over until nicely browned – including each short end – about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. It will be fully raw inside, but that's OK. Transfer to plate and let cool for 5 minutes, uncovered.
- Mustard Spread: Mix dijon, rosemary and garlic in a small bowl. Then add 3 teaspoons of egg, and mix again.
- Making the crumb: Mix Crumb ingredients EXCEPT butter in a bowl. Then use a fork to stir through butter. Spread on a dinner plate (large enough that fits lamb).
- Crumbing the lamb: Spread the underside of the rack with mustard mix. Press into breadcrumb mixture, then spread mustard mix over the other side as well as each end. Then press those sides into the breadcrumb mixture.
- Transfer lamb to rack set on a tray. Surround with parboiled vegetables if using – but don't crowd the lamb.
- Roast: Frenched racks for 20 minutes, or untrimmed racks for 30 – 35 minutes, or until internal temperature registers 60°C/140°F (for medium rare).
- Rest meat: Transfer lamb to a cutting board, loosely cover with foil. (If you roasted veg, leave in tray or pan and keep warm in turned off oven).
- Carve: Rest 5 minutes then slice carefully using your hands to hold the crumb gently in place where you are cutting using a very sharp knife. If your service allows it, it's best to cut 2 or 3 bones together (ie. a double/triple cutlet portion), because the crumb stays on better. Slicing single cutlets is super hard (sadly)!
- Serve as-is (no sauce), with Creamy White Wine & Mustard Sauce, or Pea Puree.
Creamy White Wine & Mustard Sauce
- Boil wine and chicken stock together until reduced by 3/4, then whisk in cream and mustard and simmer for 3 – 5 minutes until thickened. The consistency should be a thin pouring sauce. We don't want to coat the lamb too thickly as the sauce flavour will be overpowering.
- Frenched racks come with all the fat trimmed off so they are much smaller, usually 500-650g for 7 to 8 bones, and are much more expensive. It’s more elegant and this is how restaurants typically serve lamb.
- Untrimmed (ie. fat cap on, an minimal trimming) has layer of fat and more meat on the lamb, usually 750g – 900g/1.5lb – 1.8 lb (for really large, extra fatty!)
- medium rare (my preferred, pink) is 57°C/135°F out of oven – it will rise to 60°C / 145°F while resting which is medium rare;
- rare (red) – 47°C / 117°F out of oven. It will rise while resting to 52°C/125°F which is rare.
- Plain: The crumb already has plenty of flavour and the meat itself is so juicy and tender, you really can serve it as-is and your diners will be delighted.
- Creamy White Wine & Mustard Sauce: Rich and a flavour-bomber! So use sparingly, just a bit to add a bit of moistness to the lamb. It’s quite an elegant sauce and looks great against the blushing pink lamb and golden crumb. It makes more than you need for 1 rack but impractical to make less. Leftovers will go brilliantly with any plain seared protein (steak, chicken, pork … but maybe not fish, it’s a bit too intense).
- Pea puree: An elegant option that plays two roles: As a side and as a sauce. It also looks so great, adding a splash of vibrant green colour to the plate! This is a very classic, posh restaurant serving option. Recipe here.
- Roasted vegetables option: Boil root veg in salted water until almost cooked through, toss with any veg that doesn’t need parboiling. Drain and toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at the same time as lamb. In my recipe example I used: 300g potato, 2 carrots, 1 red onion.
Life of Dozer
Pool-wet Dozer not allowed inside until he dries off a bit… but..
…of course he pushes the boundaries as always!!