Christmas is the perfect time for lamb racks. While they're not cheap, they are easy to prepare and fast to cook, and they never fail to please.
I love them with candied kumara given a fresh lift with orange gremolada and a dish of asparagus and broad beans with slivers of feta. Elegant, festive and fabulous.
2 x 450g (15-16 ounce) lamb racks 3 Tbsp butter ½ tsp smoked paprika 1 Tbsp flaky sea salt ½ tsp ground black pepper Finely grated zest 1 lemon 2 Tbsp coarsely grated ginger ½ cup panko crumbs, or homemade dried breadcrumbs
1 Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Remove excess fat from lamb racks but keep a covering of it in place over the meaty part of the racks. Melt butter in a small bowl and mix in paprika, flaky sea salt, pepper and lemon zest. Squeeze in the juice from the grated ginger.
2 Brush lamb racks all over with seasoned butter. Press on crumbs. Lay racks meaty side up in a shallow-sided ovenproof dish (high sides will prevent browning; I use a sturdy tin similar to a Swiss roll tin/jelly roll pan). The racks can be prepared up to 1 hour in advance, left covered at room temperature, or kept for longer if refrigerated (but bring to room temperature before cooking or the timing will be wrong).
3 Roast for 20 minutes until the crust is crisp and golden brown but the meat is still pink and juicy. Rest racks on a board for 7 minutes before slicing into cutlets. Let the cutlets rest on the board for 2-3 minutes keeping crusty crumb edges away from any seeping juices. Mop juices, then transfer cutlets to a heated serving plate. Serve immediately.
Photography Aaron McLean http://www.aaronmclean.com