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Rack Of Lamb With Goat Cheese Crust

Ask the butcher to "french" the rack, or rib roast of lamb, removing cartilage between the ribs. This makes it extremely easy to carve. The golden crust is fragrant, showy and delicious.

Goat Cheese Crust:
4 ounces ( 1/2 cup) fresh goat cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
2 heaping tablespoons Pecorino Romano (Lambert used locatelli.)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Lamb:
1 rack of lamb with 8 chops, trimmed, about 2 pounds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Seasoning Salt (recipe follows) or salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 sprigs fresh rosemary

For the crust: Place the goat cheese, 1 tablespoon of the bread crumbs, garlic, rosemary, egg yolk and salt in a small bowl and blend. Combine 3 tablespoons of the bread crumbs, Pecorino and pepper in another small bowl. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Trim the excess fat from the lamb and, if the butcher hasn't, trim and clean between the rib bones. Rub oil over the meat and season with the seasoning salt. Place the lamb on a rack in a shallow baking pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 110 degrees. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Coat the top side of rack of lamb with the goat cheese mixture. Pat the bread crumb mixture over this, pressing lightly so it adheres. Return to the oven and cook for 20 minutes until medium rare. The internal temperature should be 145 degrees and the cheese crust should be golden brown. If a more browned crust is desired, place 3 inches under a high broiler for a few minutes before the lamb reaches 145 degrees. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

To serve: Cut the rack into chops. Be careful to keep the crust with each chop. Garnish with rosemary. Serve 2 chops to each person. Serves 4.

Paula Lambert's "The Cheese Lover's Cookbook & Guide"

Thursday, October 18, 2001

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