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This summer I've been awful about using my fresh herbs from the deck, what with being humongously pregnant and then having a newborn to take care of, so now when I am venturing into the kitchen, I'm trying to put those herbs to good use. One of the herbs I have an abundance of is mint. I planted it thinking I'd enjoy Rack of Lamb often, flavored water, desserts and eventually mojitos (when I was no longer carrying a child) and, well, none of that really happened, except for flavored water one time for a friend's bachelorette party.
Early September brought about our second wedding anniversary though so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to get to that rack of lamb and use up at least a fraction of all that mint. I turned to Chef John from Food Wishes for some ideas on how to use mint to elevate my rack of lamb game. He did not disappoint with this Mint Crusted Rack of Lamb featured on allrecipes. It's really a fairly simple recipe, it just has a few components to tackle to help bring it all together. Also, for all you Gluten Free guys and gals out there, I made this with gluten free bread crumbs and you can't even tell the difference! Score.
The dijon base and the honey vinaigrette take just a few extra seconds but really take this lamb to the next level. Halfway through putting it all together, I ran out of dijon mustard so substituted a stone ground variety and loved the extra bite it provided. You really can't go wrong with dijon, stone ground, or an herb dijon like he features in his video (umm YUM!!). Next time I try this I'm going to go with this amazing looking blue cheese herb mustard (affil.).
The one bit of beef I have with doing lamb with this coating is that the outer layer of fat doesn't crisp up as nicely as it does with just the olive oil and herb based recipe I usually make. I'm sure you could remedy this complaint by simply browning it up more when you do your initial searing, so definitely not a deal breaker. The crust provides a worthwhile burst of flavor that compliments the lamb perfectly, so is definitely worth doing this way from time to time.
Below, I've summed up the pros and cons of this one and I have to be honest, I really had to fish for anything bad. But, with a newborn, dishes matter. So, having to clean a blender, two pans and the extra bowls/brush is a little obnoxious but nothing you can't handle. All in all, this creation by Chef John is well worth your time and is going to likely become a staple for your special occasions. It certainly will be making a repeat appearance in our household from time to time.
Get the Recipe
- Need a blender (and I hate cleaning blenders)
- Uses two pans
- Outside doesn't get as crisp as my usual oil and herb based lamb recipe.
- Multiple layers of flavor.
- Ready in under an hour
- Fairly simple to make
- Not a lot of ingredients
- Simply delicious
I kept it simple with the sides because the lamb really has to be the star of the show. A simple garden salad with a greek vinaigrette and roasted potatoes are the perfect accompaniment. We enjoyed champagne (okay, champagne snobs, sparkling wine) with our dinner since it was our anniversary but the best pairing for mint crusted rack of lamb would be a cabernet sauvignon. Syrah, Merlot, Carmenere or Bandol would also be appropriate to pair.
Shortcut for Roasted Potatoes
Since the lamb has to bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees anyways, I figured I'd try to get roasted potatoes out of the same baking time. In order to do this you've got to boil them first. Simply take a couple cups of baby potatoes quartered/halved (depending on size), cover with water, add salt and bring to a boil. Boil until just barely fork tender - not so soft that you'd be making mashed potatoes. Drain and remove to baking sheet. Toss with olive oil salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bake with the lamb and throughout the lamb's resting time.
What's your favorite way to do lamb? Comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (links in footer below) to share your thoughts! Don't forget to follow Chef John of Food Wishes on Twitter also and subscribe to his youtube channel! His commentary is seriously the best.