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Rack of Lamb Lollipops

Although American lamb is meatier and better, the very inexpensive racks of baby lamb from New Zealand are hard to resist at the low prices they often go on sale for. You could serve each person a whole baby lamb rack for the price of a steak. The chops, once you cut them up, make one or two big, delicious bites each. It’s perfectly proper to eat them with your fingers that way, and even the kids will be charmed by that. Lamb has a much more agreeable flavor than it had in the bad old days, so if it’s been awhile, try it!

LambLollipops

  • 4 baby lamb racks
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 Tbs. Creole mustard
  • 2 tsp. Tabasco garlic marinade
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice, strained

Preheat oven and broiling rack to 425 degrees, and position an oven shelf about in the center of the oven. Turn on the convection feature if you have it.

1. This first step may not be necessary, because most lamb racks are already trimmed and “frenched.” Frenching a lamb rack means cutting most of the fat and meat away between the bones. Not only does this make it look nicer, but it keeps that part from burning. If the racks haven’t been frenched, lay them bone side down and, starting about a half-inch above the lean with a sharp knife, carefully cut along one bone and then the opposite one. Repeat until finished. If there is excess fat along the top of the bones, cut this off too–but leave a thin layer of fat to enrich the flavors.

2. In a wide bowl large enough to fit a whole lamb rack, combine the honey, Creole mustard, Tabasco garlic marinade, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Dip the racks in this mixture, and cover the meatiest part of the racks with it. Cover the racks but leave at room temperature for about an hour to marinate.

3. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the racks and place them bone side down on the slotted broiling pan. Put them into the oven and roast until a meat thermometer reads about 130 degrees (for medium rare)–about 20 minutes. Do not turn. Remove the lamb and let it rest for about five minutes.

4. Serve the lamb racks as they are, or slice them into chops and fan them out on the plate. Ultimate side dish: mushroom risotto.

Serves four to eight.

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