This rack of lamb has a basil, mint, and almond pesto crust. It’s easy to make but so special. The accompanying plums are roasted in the same pan as the rack of lamb, making the whole dish super-simple but super-delicious. This post is part of a year-long series of wine paired recipes that I have been hired by Columbia Crest to develop.
There’s something about lamb that is just plain special. And no cut is more special than a rack of lamb.
The great thing about a rack of lamb is that it’s really easy to cook, looks amazing when it comes out of the oven, and it’s wonderful to carve and serve as lamb chops to a group of people. Serve this rack of lamb for Easter or on any special spring evening.
Pesto-Crusted Rack of Lamb
How much lamb do you need? One rack of lamb typically serves two people with a couple of chops leftover to gnaw on late at night. This recipe uses two racks of lamb so that you can serve it to guests. But feel free to halve the recipe and enjoy it on your own.
For this lamb recipe you make a quick and easy pesto using lamb’s favorite herb – mint – along with basil and almonds. Then you make a crust of Panko breadcrumbs with lemon zest. The pesto is spread on the rack of lamb and then sprinkled with the panko crumbs.
Roast until lamb has reached desired temperature on an instant read thermometer, 135°F for medium-rare or 145°F for medium.
Honey Roasted Plums
The rack of lamb is nestled in among halved plums that have been tossed with honey and lemon. The plums roast alongside the lamb and are a wonderful complement to the meat as the sweet and sour of the fruit works well with the richness of the lamb.
For an easy, elegant dessert to serve with this lamb, be sure to check out my recipe for chocolate lava cake with blackberry wine sauce.
Here’s my full recipe for Mint and Basil Pesto-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Roasted Plums:
Rack of lamb is the perfect entrée for a special occasion. This simple version is layered with flavors like mint, basil, almond, garlic, lemon, and plum. The richness of the meat and the intense sweet-and-sour notes of the roasted plums are particularly lovely.
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ oz. parmesan cheese, finely grated (about ½ cup)
- 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- ¼ cup finely chopped almonds
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- ¾ tsp. salt, divided
- 2–1.5 lb. frenched racks of lamb
- ½ cup loosely packed basil leaves
- ½ cup loosely packed mint leaves
- 3 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
- 1 clove garlic
- 5 red plums, halved and pitted
- 3 Tbsp. honey
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In a small bowl combine the panko, parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, almonds, lemon zest, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt.
- Place the racks of lamb meat side up in a single layer in a large roasting pan.
- In a food processor combine the basil, mint, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, the garlic and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Puree until smooth. Spread onto the top meat of the racks of lamb. Sprinkle meat evenly with the panko mixture, pressing with your fingers to help it adhere to the pesto.
- In a medium bowl combine the plums with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of water, the honey, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Pour the plums and the liquid mixture around the racks of lamb in the roasting pan.
- Roast for 20 minutes. Check the bottom of the pan. If the plum juices are darkening and/or drying up, add 2 tablespoons of hot water and swirl it around the pan.
- Roast until lamb has reached desired temperature on an instant read thermometer, about 5-10 minutes more for medium-rare (135°F) or 10-15 minutes more for medium (145°F).
- Let rest for 5-10 minutes before carving. If crumbs fall off of the racks while carving, be sure to spoon them back onto the portions before serving.