Growing up, Easter was always one of my favorite holidays. There were scavenger hunts, the neighbor who dressed up like a (scary) bunny, the terrible poufy Easter dresses my mother would make me wear, pastel-colored desserts and lamb. There was always delicious lamb.
This lamb can be served as an appetizer or as the main course. The lamb begins by getting a dry rub of herbes de Provence, lemon zest and coarse salt. After a sear on both sides and a trip to the oven, the lamb is tender, flavorful and the perfect backdrop for the very bright mint and parsley pesto. However you celebrate this holiday, whether religious or secular, this lamb will be a delicious addition to the table.
Lamb Lollipops With Mint Pesto
1 garlic clove
Handful (.5 ounces) of flat leaf Italian parsley, trimmed and blanched
Handful (.5 ounces) of fresh mint leaves, trimmed and blanched
1/4 teaspoon table salt or fine-grain sea salt
2 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino cheese
1 teaspoon honey
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 pound rack of lamb, frenched and trimmed
1. To a skillet, add a teaspoon of olive oil and heat it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic clove and cook it on both sides for about 3-5 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer the garlic to a food processor, along with the parsley and mint; pulse until minced. With the processor on, add 1/4 cup of olive oil in a steady stream. Add the salt, pecorino cheese, honey and the juice from half of a lemon. Pulse once more until mixture is nearly smooth. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, add the herbes de Provence, kosher salt and the lemon zest. Using your fingers, vigorously rub the mixture together, which will release the zest’s oils. Sprinkle and press the herb mixture on both sides of the lamb.
3. To a cast iron skillet, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over moderately high heat. Add the lamb and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. This should give you a nice sear on both sides of the lamb.
4. Transfer the skillet to the oven (alternatively, you could carefully transfer the lamb rack to a roasting pan), and cook for an additional 7-10 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 130 degrees F for medium rare. (Note: The cooking time will depend on how thick and big your rack of lamb is. It’s generally 8-10 minutes of cooking time per pound.) Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and allow the lamb to rest for 5-7 minutes. Slice and serve with the mint and parsley pesto.
All photos by Adrianna Adarme.