Rosemary and Mint-Roasted Lamb Breast with Yogurt Sauce

21. September 2012 Lamb + Veal 0

This recipe came from Sam Sifton in the New York Times. It’s almost the perfect recipe for such an affordable piece of lamb. Even at Whole Foods, 2 racks at about 3 pounds cost $12, probably the least expensive big-ticket item I’ve ever bought there.

As usual, I adjusted the recipe to work for me. I roasted the lamb for 2 hours without checking its internal temperature–the racks were thin enough to gauge by eye if they were cooked. I prodded the meat off the rib bones with a fork. The meat didn’t fall apart but it was quite soft and tasty that I called it done. I left the lamb in the roasting pan with all its juice tented with the foil to let it cool overnight without making it sweat. I only put it back in the fridge when I woke up 7 hours later.

It took another 14 hours before I seared them to serve. I sliced the ribs in half to fit a large frying pan and browned them for about 3 minutes on each side. I skipped the scallion accompaniment from the original recipe and instead served it with a simple mixed greens salad I collected from my garden, but the yogurt sauce was quite good with it.

For the lamb:
1 head garlic, peeled
2 tbsps salt
1/4 cup olive oil
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
a handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
black pepper
lamb breast, about 3 lbs

For the yogurt sauce:
1 cup thick Greek-style yogurt
2 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps lemon juice
4 tsps lemon zest
2 tbsps fresh mint, finely chopped
smoked paprika
salt, pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and salt into a paste. Transfer to a bowl with a spatula. Gradually mix in the olive oil. Stir in the herbs and pepper.
2. Fit the lamb into an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan big enough to contain the racks. Smear them thoroughly with the paste, and place ribs-side down in the pan. Cover tightly with foil, and roast for no more than 2.5 hours. Meat should be wobbly but not falling apart. Allow to cool uncovered, then cover again and rest in the refrigerator overnight.
3. The next day, when ready to serve, place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the racks in half to make them fit in the pan at least two at a time. Sear until crispy on both sides, approximately 4 to 6 minutes.
4. In the meantime, prepare the yogurt sauce. Whisk 1 tbsp of olive oil into the yogurt. Then the lemon juice and the zest. Stir in mint and salt. Before serving, drizzle sauce with remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and a pinch of paprika to taste. Whisk one last time before serving in a separate bowl with the lamb.