This full-bodied main dish is a beautiful centerpiece for any occasion. Rubbed in classic Armanino Pesto Sauce, and topped with Parmesan cheese and crispy Panko breadcrumbs, this rack of lamb pairs nicely with simple sides for a show-stopping meal.
Check if a full rack of lamb will fit in a single layer in a large cast iron or other heavy skillet (do not use a non-stick pan). If not, cut the racks in half between the 4th and 5th ribs.
Heat the skillet over high heat.
Season the lamb racks on both sides with a pinch each of salt and pepper.
Depending on what will fit comfortably in a single layer in your skillet, sear lamb, meat side down, until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
Turn and sear the bone side until golden brown, 3-4 minutes.
Sear the bottom of the lamb by holding the racks with a pair of tongs or by interlacing/propping the bones of two racks against each other, about 2-3 minutes.
Place the seared lamb on a cutting board or sheet pan and continue with the remaining lamb racks, pouring off any accumulated fat as needed.
Let the lamb rest at least 20 minutes to cool before continuing with the next step. This can be done a several hours ahead and refrigerated until needed. Bring the lamb to room temperature before continuing.
Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
In a bowl combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan and lemon zest. Rub the mixture well with your fingers to break up and evenly distribute the lemon zest.
Rub the pesto over the meat side of each rack.
Sprinkle the panko parmesan breadcrumbs heavily over the pesto, pressing to adhere.
Arrange the crumbed lamb racks, crumb side up, in a large shallow roasting pan or a foil lined sheet pan in a single layer. Do not crowd or overlap.
Roast until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted into the loin/meat reads 135°F for medium rare (30 minutes), or 145°F for medium (40 minutes).
Remove from the oven when the desired temperature is reached and let rest in the pan for 15 minutes.
Transfer to a cutting board and cut between the bones for individual chops. Serve with any of the breadcrumb coating that may have fallen off during slicing and extra pesto sauce.
“Frenched” lamb chops are a classic presentation for a roasted rack of lamb and involves removing the layer of muscle and fat that extends from the loin to the end of the rib bones. Lamb racks can be purchased already “frenched” or your butcher can easily do this for you.
The first step before searing: turn on the fan. This process can get a little smoky.
Searing the bottom portion of a lamb rack can be tricky. You can hold them upright in the pan with a pair of tongs or there’s an easy trick: take two racks and prop them against each other to hold in place, freeing you up to do other tasks.