Whenever we go to Santa Fe to visit our friends Linda and Mike Waterman, we cook a glorious meal of charcoal-grilled leg of lamb seasoned with rosemary and accompanied by roasted potatoes. We've been enjoying this same meal together as long as can remember.
The flavors of lamb and goat cheese combine brilliantly, and rosemary and garlic bring out the gamy juices of the succulent rack of lamb. In honor of the Watermans, I created this goat cheese crust that dresses up a rack of lamb while keeping it moist and tender.
Goat Cheese Crust
4 ounces (1/2 cup) fresh goat cheese, softened
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
Generous 1/2 ounce Pecorino Romano, grated (2 heaping tablespoons)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
One 8-chop rack of lamb, trimmed and frenched
(have the butcher do this) (2 pounds)
Seasoning Salt or salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
For the Goat Cheese Crust, place the goat cheese, 1 tablespoon of the bread crumbs, the garlic, rosemary; egg yolk, and salt together in a small bowl and blend. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, the Pecorino, and pepper in another small bowl. Set aside.
Rub the oil over the meat and season with the seasoning salt. Place the lamb on a rack in a shallow baking pan and roast for 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 110 degrees F. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Coat the top side of the rack of lamb with the goat cheese mixture. Pat the bread crumb mixture over this, pressing slightly so it adheres. Return to the oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until medium-rare. The internal temperature should be 145 degrees F. And the cheese crust should be golden brown. If a more browned crust is desired, place it 3 inches from the heat under the hot broiler for the last few minutes before the lamb reaches 145 degrees F. Remove from the oven and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
To serve, cut the rack into chops, being careful to keep the crust with each chop. Serve 2 chops to each person, garnished with the rosemary.
The Cheese Lover's Cookbook and Guide
By Paula Lambert
Simon & Schuster, November, 2000
384 pages, 16 full-color photo-illustrations
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created April 2001
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