Tunisian Spiced Rack of Lamb
A fairly simple, but fantastically delicious meal from North Africa.
1 each (108g) lemon
1 tsp (2g) coriander seed, ground
1 tsp (2g) caraway seed, ground
1/2 tsp (1g) cumin seed, ground
1/2 tsp (1g) cayenne pepper, ground
4 each (12g) garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp (28g) light olive oil
2 each (1589g) lamb racks, cleaned (Frenched)
salt, to taste
1. Zest the lemon with a zester, or the fine side of a cheese grater. You can even use a vegetable peeler to remove the yellow outer layer of the lime. Do not use the white part, though (it’s called the “pith” and … it’s bitter). Just get the yellow skin on the surface. If you use a peeler, make sure it’s chopped fine. It’s a strong flavor, so only add about 1 tsp to a large mixing bowl.
2. Juice the lemon and add to the bowl, along with the remaining ingredients (except the lamb). Mix the spice blend together.
3. Add the cleaned lamb racks to the bowl and thoroughly coat the racks with the spice blend.
4. Lamb racks are usually thinner on one side, than the other. In addition, it’s generally good form to bring meats up to a warmer and more relaxed temperature. This will create a juicy and more evenly cooked piece of meat. At this point, leave the lamb in the bowl to absorb flavors and warm up … sitting on the counter top. Allow it to stay at room temperature for about 1 to 2 hours (no more than 4, though).
5. Heat an oven to about 425 F/200C
6. Heat a very large oven proof sauté pan.
7. Season the lamb racks with salt.
8. The top side of the rack has a fat cap. Place this side down, in the pan, with the two racks. Sear it, until you get a nice golden color.
9. Stand the racks on their ends, so the bones intertwine like the fingers of two hands. Sear the top of the rounded portions of the two racks, while they are balanced in this position.
10. Each rack has a thicker side. Place the flat cut surface of the thicker side down in the pan, until it’s nice, golden and seared.
11. Face the fat side of each rack up and place the entire pan directly into the oven.
12. Roast the racks for about 9 to 12 minutes (depending on size of racks and desired doneness). Check the internal temperature. I like mine on the rare side, so you can remove the racks at about 120 F, or 130 F for a more medium to medium-rare.
13. Remove the pan and cover with foil. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes, before slicing and serving.
14. You can slice between each bone to carve little chops. If the bone gets in the way at the joints, just push hard through the bone. It’ll go through.