Rack of Lamb with Mint Pistachio Pesto
2 racks of lamb, frenched (about 1.3 pounds each)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper; set aside.
There may be a thick membrane of fat atop the meaty portion of the rack, that you can choose to either remove or leave in place as most of it will melt off as the lamb cooks.
Place the rack of lamb on a cutting board, fat side up. Starting at one end, slide a thin, sharp knife horizontally under the layer of fat and gently slice back and forth until the strip is removed.
Place the rack on the foil-lined baking sheet, meat side up. Use a pastry brush to coat the meat with the olive oil mixture.
Place the sheet in the center of the oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until desired temperature is achieved. To ensure accuracy, insert a meat thermometer in the thickest end.
Rack of lamb is best served medium rare, and the rack should be ready when it has reached an internal temperature of 125 to 130 degrees F on the thermometer. Remove from oven and cover lightly with aluminum foil to preserve the heat.
For the juiciest results, allow the meat to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving.
To carve, place the rack on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice between the bones. Top with the Mint Pistachio Pesto and serve immediately.
Mint Pistachio Pesto
Makes: About 1 ½ cups
1 ½ cups fresh mint leaves, removed from stems
1 cup fresh Italian parsley, stems removed
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
½ cup roasted and salted pistachios, shelled
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
¼ teaspoon kosher salt (may need more if using unsalted nuts)
¼ freshly ground black pepper
In the bowl of your food processor, add the mint, parsley, garlic, pistachios and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and pulse 10 to 15 times until the mixture appears coarsely ground and well combined. Add the salt and pepper and pulse 5 more times.
Turn the processor on and use the feed tube to slowly add the olive oil, until fully incorporated. If the pesto appears too thick, add more olive oil, one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
Taste the pesto and add more lemon juice, salt and/or pepper as desired, processing until combined.
May be served immediately but is even better when prepared at least an hour two in advance to allow the flavors to meld together.
The pesto may be prepared several days in advance and refrigerated until ready to use. For best results, bring to room temperature before serving.
To store: Store the pesto in an airtight container and place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto to prevent discoloration. Refrigerate for up to one week or freeze for up to one month.