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Rack of Lamb with Mint Sauce

A tender herb, mint loses most of its vibrant flavor when dried; whenever possible, use it fresh. The herb labeled "mint" in the supermarket will be either peppermint or spearmint. Of the two, peppermint has the sharper flavor. To store fresh mint, trim off the bottoms of the stems and place the sprigs in a glass of water, just as you would fresh flowers. Cover the mint loosely with a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (This storage method also works well for parsley and cilantro.)

Ingredients:

For the spice rub:

  • 2 Tbs. firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs. ground cardamom
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 2 racks of lamb, each with 7 or 8 ribs, 1 1⁄2 to
      1 3⁄4 lb. total

For the mint sauce:

  • 1⁄2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 Tbs. confectioners' sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar

Directions:

To make the spice rub, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pepper, cardamom and cinnamon and stir to blend.

Rub the racks of lamb all over with the spice rub. Put the lamb on a plate, cover, and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Preheat an oven to 475°F.

Place the racks of lamb in an oiled roasting pan just large enough to hold them comfortably. Roast for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue roasting the lamb until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the rack, away from the bone, registers 125°F for very rare to rare, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the mint sauce: In a blender or mini food processor, combine the mint, confectioners' sugar and vinegar and process until the mint is minced. Spoon into a small glass bowl. Set aside.

Cut the lamb into individual rib chops and arrange on warmed plates. Serve hot, drizzled with the mint sauce.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Roasting, by Barbara Grunes (Simon & Schuster, 2002).