Count Your Ribs For Herbed Rack of Lamb

Herbed Rack of LambIf you are planning to cook rack of lamb, it’s best to get your maths right before you go out to the shops. It is not difficult. There are eight chops on each rack. If there are less, it is either rack of (insert other animal name here) or somebody has been scoffing what is rightfully yours. If there are more than eight then it is rack of (insert name of animal that lives near a leaky nuclear power plant here). The maths problem comes about because rack of lamb is a “three chops each” dish.

So, if there are two of you dining – you little pigs! If you are three – draw straws and if there are four, you just have to get a rack and a half. With the maths out of the way, here’s how to prepare truly delicious Herbed Rack of Wicklow Lamb for what was meant to be four people.

Not a lot of ingredients but, you don't need a lot to achieve perfection.

Not a lot of ingredients but, you don’t need a lot to achieve perfection.


  • A rack and a half of lamb (12 bones)
  • Dijon mustard to cover the meat
  • Panko breadcrumbs (or regular if you don’t have a big bag of panko handy)
  • A big handful of fresh parsley
  • Half a big handful of fresh thyme
  • A couple of tablespoons of good olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season (what else?)

First, score the fat on the racks into nice diagonal diamonds.

I am not one to show needless meat shots but, I'll make an exception in this post.

I am not normally  one to show gratuitous meat shots. But, I’ll make an exception in this post.

Fry the racks on a dry pan, starting with the fat side down. The lamb fat will suffice for the frying. Brown it on as many sides as you can get to sit on the pan.

Nothing gratuitous about this. This is a meat frying shot.

Nothing gratuitous about this. This is a meat frying shot.

While the meat is frying, put the parsley, thyme, breadcrumbs, olive oil, salt and pepper into a blender.

I enjoy a good pouring shot. This is a panko pouring shot. Quite rare, I hear.

I enjoy a good pouring shot. This is a panko pouring shot. Quite rare, I hear.

There is no need to take the stalks off the parsley. Don’t leave the stalks on the thyme.

Pour in the olive oil last so it blends more easily with the other ingredients.

Pour in the olive oil last so it blends more easily with the other ingredients.

Blitz the mixture until you have a paste of a lovely high green colour. Next, paint the racks with the mustard. I didn’t season the meat as there is some salt and pepper in the herb crust and the dijon mustard is pretty high in salt too. No need to go overboard on salt!

Here's how to start the mustard painting. Paint it all except the bones.

Here’s how to start the mustard painting. Paint it all except the bones.

Next, apply the herb mixture to the mustard covered racks.

You have to get your hands dirty doing this.

You have to get your hands dirty doing this.

When the racks are covered, place a strip of cooking foil over the ends of the bones (to prevent burning) and pop them into the oven at 200ºC for 20 minutes.

Covered in herb mixture and just before getting the foil added.

Covered in herb mixture and just before getting the foil added.

Take them out and let them rest, without picking at the delicious crust, for a further 10 minutes.

If the first shot above didn't get you, this one will. Glorious Herbed Rack of Lamb.

If the first shot above didn’t get you, this one will. Glorious Herbed Rack of Lamb.

I served this with mashed potatoes and green beans. One of our expected diners failed to arrive. You don’t need a degree in maths to work out what we did with the three spare ribs.

Wine paring
Some of the more gastronomically focussed blogs (I mean Stefan’s) put a deal of thought into choosing a wine to perfectly match the dish. In this case, I choose from what is left in our rapidly depleting wine rack. Our annual trip to France was put off this year and we are beginning to feel the effects.

The St. Emilion worked really well with this. Hardly a surprise really.

The St. Emilion worked really well with this. Hardly a surprise really.

So the ‘perfect’ wine to go with this delicious herbed rack of lamb is Chateau Petit Gravet 2010. This is also to serve as a gentle reminder to anybody coming around to ours for dinner. Bring some wine, for pity’s sake!

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Latest comments
  • Rack of lamb is hard to beat and that looks stunning. French trimmed to perfection and that herb crust looks so vibrant and fresh. Lovely.

    • Thanks Adam, I did not mention the time spent scraping the bones, blunting one of my good knives and ‘French trimming’ my finger.

  • Hmmmmm, nice.

  • They look like they are done to perfection 😉

    • Thanks MD. Important to not overcook and to give the meat the 10 minutes resting.

  • Perfect presentation as usual. I confess my maths is awful – I made similar once and ate the whole lot (over two days…I think)

    • It’s easy to forget the maths when this is on offer.

  • Green herbs and ham! Err, lamb! Looks fantastic. I bet this would be perfect for Christmas dinner. So festive.

    • Thanks Tommy, we are having a roast beef for Christmas dinner. We parted company with the more traditional when we realised nobody in our house was too pushed about turkey and ham. Never looked back…

  • You have quite the rack there, Conor. This is what I need post-ride… every ride.

  • Looks pretty yummy! Sorry that I bagged and didn’t make dinner! Looks like I missed out! 🙂

    • Your usual place was set Barb. Why did you not arrive?

  • Wow. This is gorgeous. I can only imagine what it tastes like. I do this almost every monday on salmon, but on lamb….how rich and wonderful.

    • Thanks for the inspiration Amanda. I too have salmon most weeks. I must try it.

  • Thanks for this complete recipe, I’ve tried them before but the herb crust never sticks to the meat.Will try this soon!

    • I think its the fat scoring and meat browning that does it. I used to do these without doing either and I would always serve the crust as a side.

  • I love rack of lamb and you did a great job plating it. Very daring to cook it without using a thermometer, but looks like you nailed it just like Kees prefers it. Reminds me to make rack of lamb again, and to try it with a herb crust. I love that gratuitous meat shots are back.

    • Hi Stefan, as you know, I don’t possess a meat thermometer. On this one, it did work pretty well. I think that the biggest crime would be over-cooking. Happy to oblige on the meat shots where possible.

      • You are right that would be a crime. Thanks for the shout out by the way 🙂

  • Wow! I’m sitting here drooling… the lamb looks delicious; I can only imagine how it tastes!!

    • Thanks Jersey Girl, they can be eaten like lollipops if one is so inclined. They are fairly fantastic.

  • I could eat that right now… Out of interest, why panko? Does it make for a crisper crust?

    • The panko probably does five a crisper crust. In truth, I use them because I bought a catering bag of them and will probably be eating them one very meal for the next couple of years.

  • That is my sort of rack my friend… rack of lamb that is :). Looks damn fine. Defo should be getting yourself to France soon…

  • Heavenly! Must try this sometime..

    • It would be a perfect way to prepare Kerry mountain lamb.

  • What right do the ‘Oirish’ have to teach us Aussies to cook lamb ~ well, you have!!! Have never counted the number of ribs – but have never got it right either!! Well, now I know!!!! A REAL and beautiful way to get the best of the bestest meat . . . and I too cook by touch and feel . . .

    • Thanks Eha. Cooking by touch and guesswork is fun. It’s almost a surprise when things turn out right!

      • They would not dare otherwise – mind over matter, Mr Bofin!!

  • Conor, I love your posts and you inevitably make me chuckle. The rack looks lovely. The ingredients coupled with the plating shot give me a wonderful idea of its flavor. Obviously, your dinner guests had a fabulous treat and shame on the person who failed to attend. As for the wine, I would bring some with me for dinner but it takes a couple of weeks after flying for the wine to settle. Inasmuch as I doubt we will be in Ireland long enough for the wine to settle, you must increase your cellar before we visit. 😉 Oh, and be forewarned, we drink a lot of wine. 😀

    • Thanks Richard. In your case, I might make an exception and break open a bottle or two. The welcome mat remains out.

  • Once I understood how key resting the meat is we’ve had some wonderful dishes since. It’s funny the learning curves of cooking. This dish pops so nicely and great use of the mustard.

    • Thanks. Yes, the resting is vital to nice juicy meat. otherwise, it’s stringy and sitting in a pool of blood. Not nice.

  • That looks absolutely delicious. Perfectly cooked and with the herb crust still green when it comes out of the oven (if it was mine it’d be black and speckly). Awed by your devotion in French trimming the chops, I’ve done it and i know how flipping long it takes. Hats off.

    • Thanks Linda, trimming the chops is well worth the effort, at least for the photographs…

  • I don’t think I have ever laid eyes on such a beautifully prepared rack of lamb. I have always wanted to prepare one and now I’m feeling better educated as to how! What a gorgeous presentation, so colorful Conor!

  • It’s hard to do catch up with you. Every post I want to eat and it’s like watching too many good movies in a row and you don’t get to truly savor each.
    Your scoring is perfection.

    • Too kind Wendy. I put it down to having a good knife. It’s a very tasty dish.

  • Oh boy, my lamb person licking closely want to lick my laptop monitor then right after i seeing your photograph Connor,
    never made this kind of herbs crusted lamb ntead pistachio or any other nuts before, totally worth to try!!!

    • The nut crust is delicious too Deddy. I have done it before. I think we agree Lamb is fantastic!

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