Moroccan-Spiced Rack of Lamb
Tender and flavorful rack of lamb—rib bones with the tenderloin attached—shouldn’t be restricted to holiday fare or fancy restaurant menus. Simply dressed with herbs or marinated briefly to add moisture and flavor, grilled rack of lamb makes any occasion special. Serve on a bed of herbed couscous.
For the herbed couscous:
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 cups couscous
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh tarragon
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped preserved lemon
- 2 Tbs. sliced almonds, toasted
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup minced fresh mint, plus leaves for garnish
- 1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme or 2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 racks of lamb, each 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb., cut into 2- to 3-rib portions
- Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
To make the couscous, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and salt and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and add the parsley, tarragon, preserved lemon, almonds and cumin. Stir gently to combine. Cover to keep warm.
Using the flat side of a chef’s knife, crush and smear the garlic into a paste with the 1 tsp. salt. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and melt the butter. When the foam subsides, stir in the garlic paste, shallot, lemon zest, lemon juice, mint, thyme, cumin and coriander. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Let the spiced butter cool slightly.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate.
Generously season the lamb with salt and pepper and brush with the spiced butter. Tightly wrap the ends of the lamb bones in heavy-duty aluminum foil to prevent them from scorching.
Grill the lamb directly over medium-high heat until nicely grill-marked on all sides. Reposition over indirect heat, cover the grill and cook until firm to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes, or until done to your liking.
Transfer the lamb racks to a carving board and cut between the bones into individual chops. Spoon the couscous onto a platter and arrange the chops on top. Drizzle with any remaining spiced butter and garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).