I have some exciting news: In May, we will be doing a two week trip to New Zealand! A country well known for many things: great wines and cheeses, gorgeous nature trails, captivating landscapes, a dynamic Polynesian culture, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and lamb! In all of the travel books, blogs and guides that I've perused so far, they all mention the fact that there are 4 million people and 66 million sheep. An impressive ratio, isn't it? But understandable, considering that lamb export is one of the country's major sources of revenue. Guess what I'm going to be eating? This "subtropical earth" promises to be thrilling and filling.
Discipline or reason might dictate that I wait until the trip to get my lamb fix. But it is spring after all and lamb is somewhat synonymous with this season. So last Saturday morning, I recruited my friend Missy and hurriedly made it across town to the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Goal: to source out a rack of lamb, at the same time half-expecting nothing because the farmers were specifically fulfilling Easter pre-orders (which I had not done.) As luck would have it, the folks at Bar 5 had one rack left over due to an unfulfilled order. (And in case you were wondering, the market will be opened next Saturday April 10th, and officially opens on April 24th. Fresh and Local resumes on AM 950 on May 15th.)
This recipe is my typical preparation for rack of lamb. Mustard slightly sweetened with honey (or maple syrup) and hinted with lemony rosemary, and some thyme, are all that lamb needs in my opinion. For the mustard, here I used spicy brown but dijon is typical so feel free to stick to traditional is you so desire.
Farmers Market Rack of Lamb with Honey Mustard
1 eight-bone rack of lamb, frenched*
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp rosemary
2 tsp thyme
1. Set the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Add a two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a skillet over medium heat. Season the lamb with salt and sear in skillet for two minutes on fatty side and two minutes on the base.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients. Brush this marinade on the seared lamb and place in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until a meat thermometer registers 130 to 135 degrees F for medium rare (the way I like it) and 140 to 145 degrees F for medium (pictured above.) Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into single or double chops to serve.