Rack of Lamb with Spice Crust and Fried Potatoes

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Rack of Lamb with Spice Crust and Fried Potatoes (Wendy Goodfriend)

"A rack of lamb always makes an elegant dinner. It is expensive and a somewhat small cut, though, so it is best served as part of a menu that includes several other dishes, like a soup or fish course, potatoes and string beans, and a salad. As part of an extensive menu, a lamb rack will serve four, providing one double or two single chops per person.

"After I trim the fat from the outside of the rack, I coat it with a spicy rub and refrigerate it until cooking time. The rack can be cooked in a skillet on top of the stove or on a grill, which is how I do it in this recipe. If you plan to serve the rack as it comes off the grill, place it in a 275-degree oven for about 15 minutes, for a medium-rare result. If the rack is grilled a couple of hours ahead and allowed to cool in the kitchen, place it in a 275-degree oven for 30 minutes to reheat and finish cooking." --Jacques Pépin

Recipe: Rack of Lamb with Spice Crust

Serves 4

  • 1 large rack of lamb (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Rub

  • 2 teaspoons 5-spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Spanish paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • Trim the lamb rack of as much surface fat as you can. (The weight of the trimmed rack should be about 1 1/4 pounds.)
    For the Rub
  1. Mix the 5-spice powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and dry mustard together. Coat the rack all over with the rub and refrigerate it until ready to cook, at least 30 minutes.
  2. At cooking time, heat a grill until hot. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Recipe: Fried Potatoes

Serves 4 to 6

"One of the tastiest ways to make potatoes is to boil them with the skin on until they are tender and then peel them, thickly slice, and fry them in oil. The outside gets crunchy and brown while the inside remains moist and creamy. The potatoes can be boiled ahead and then fried just before serving. I do not do much deep-frying at my house, preferring to use a minimal amount of oil in a skillet to achieve my goal. For this recipe, which uses 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, I fry the potato slices in two batches in 1 cup oil; at the end of cooking, I have about 3/4 cup oil left, which means that I’ve used only 1/4 cup oil, or 1 tablespoon per person." --Jacques Pépin

  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold
  • potatoes (about 8)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • About 1 cup canola oil
  1. Put the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and bring to a boil. Boil for about 40 minutes, until tender. Drain and let cool enough to handle. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch slices.
  2. At serving time, pour the oil into a skillet; it should be at least 1/2 inch deep. Heat the oil to between 375 and 400 degrees. Place half the potatoes in the hot oil and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes, or until nicely browned on both sides but still creamy inside. With a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a platter. Repeat with the second batch of potato slices.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt on top of the potatoes and serve.

Recipes from Heart & Soul in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin. Copyright © 2015 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.