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Simple Rack of Lamb With Broiled Tomatoes and Charred Lemon

Lamb Rib with Roasted Tomato and Charred Lemon

An easy and elegant dish to whip up for any occasion, these garlic infused, generously salted lamb ribs will delight you with their flavor and tenderness. Sweet tang from the broiled tomatoes and charred lemon perfectly balances the lamb’s savoriness. Not to mention the bright combination of colors makes for a beautiful presentation when plated alongside a salad or green vegetable.

  • Author: Carol the Cook
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove & Oven
  • Cuisine: Greek

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 rack of lamb (1 1/4 to 2 pounds)
  • 2 cups Campari tomatoes
  • 1 lemon, sliced into 1/4 inch wheels

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and whole garlic cloves in large cast iron skillet on medium-high heat.
  3. Pat lamb rack dry and season both sides with salt.
  4. When garlic cloves begin to brown, push to one side and add lamb rack, fat side down. Cook for 4 minutes, until lightly browned, then flip lamb rack and cook for additional 4 minutes.
  5. Using tongs, place browned garlic on top of lamb rack (see photos below) and transfer cast iron skillet to oven. Roast for 40 minutes.
  6. While lamb is roasting, place campari tomatoes and lemon wheels on roasting pan. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt if desired.
  7. Remove lamb from oven and let rest.
  8. While lamb is resting, turn oven broiler to high. Broil lemon and tomatoes for 5 minutes or until lemon just begins to char. Remove from oven and serve immediately with sliced lamb ribs.

Notes

  • What kind of salt? – I recommend using kosher salt or fine ground sea salt when seasoning meat.
  • No cast iron? No problem – Any large skillet will do to brown the lamb rack. When ready, transfer the lamb rack and garlic to a roasting pan and proceed as directed.
  • What temperature is the meat done? – The safe internal temperature for lamb is 145 degrees F.

Keywords: Lamb Rack, Ribs, Charred Lemon, Broiled Tomatoes

This Recipe’s Roots

The combination of lemon juice and lamb ribs is so delectable I still remember the first time I ever tried it. We were celebrating Easter at my brother-in-law’s home and he was walking around serving lamb ribs from a huge platter as an appetizer. I happily picked out a juicy looking rib but before I could take my first bite my brother-in-law squeezed lemon juice all over it. I was annoyed he did so without asking but I didn’t want to be rude so I kept my mouth shut (figuratively) and ate the rib anyway.

I haven’t served a lamb rib since without an accompanying lemon wedge.

This newest take on the lemon and lamb combination features charred lemon. Broiling or grilling lemon adds a note of smoky sweetness that’s difficult to describe. Try it for yourself and you’ll see what I mean. The tomatoes were a last minute but worthwhile addition to round out the colors on our dinner plate.

Taking a Closer Look

I love cooking with whole garlic cloves. They take less time to prepare but still manage to add a solid punch of flavor. They also stand up better to long and hot cooking without burning.

When the garlic cloves just begin to brown is the perfect time to add the lamb. At this point the garlic will be very aromatic and will have had enough time to add some flavor to the oil. That aroma only gets better when you add the lamb rack, fat side down.

It really only takes a few minutes per side to brown the lamb rack. Contrary to popular belief we do not brown the meat to “lock in the juices.” That’s a myth. What will happen is the exterior portions of the lamb will now cook even faster than the interior portions and will have a chance to caramelize.

Just look at the beautiful caramel color of the fat when the lamb’s ready to slice. It tastes even better than it looks.

Here’s another shot really showing the difference in texture between the interior vs exterior of the rack. Leaving the lamb rack in the oven for 40 minutes results in a medium to medium well doneness depending on how hot your oven runs. I wouldn’t recommend cooking any longer because the meat becomes dry and tough.

Add in the charred lemon and broiled tomatoes and serve directly from the cast iron pan when you’re ready. The pan’s retained heat will help keep the food warm while the lemons and tomatoes ensure the meat won’t dry out. As someone with young kids and a busy household, I really appreciate food that can stay warm for a few minutes until we’re ready to sit down and eat.

What I Like Most About This Recipe

It’s so simple but thanks to the flavor and colors it seems upscale. This lamb rack recipe is just as wonderful for a weekend party as it is for a weeknight family dinner.

Leftover Thoughts

I find a rack of lamb to be much easier to cook and tastier to eat than any other cut (with the exception of a whole Easter lamb roast but that’s a once a year thing). A rack is also less expensive than chops so if in doubt, go for the lamb rack. Here in New England Costco has some of the best quality and priced lamb racks around.

Bon appetit!

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