Tender and juicy, Rack of Lamb is one of my favourite cuts of meat, and when sliced into single or double chops and marinated in a fragrant Asian, French or Moroccan-inspired elixir of fresh herbs and aromatic seasonings, the flavours can be intoxicating. With two fresh fragrant bunches of cilantro and mint shouting at me from my fridge, I was inspired to create this Asian-style marinade using fresh ginger, garlic and cilantro with sesame oil, soy sauce and samba oelek — an Indonesian red chill paste. Blended together in a food processor, and loosened with a little vegetable oil to produce a smooth paste, the marinade is simply massaged into the lamb chops and then abandoned to works it's magic for an hour or so. Roasted in a 425°F oven for 10-15 minutes, or grilled outdoors on warmer months, the lamb becomes meltingly tender and infused with classic Asian flavours for a memorable mid-winter dish.
Asian Marinated Rack of Lamb Chops
1 New Zealand Rack of Lamb
4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, leaves only
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sambal oelek hot chill sauce
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 bunch scallions, chopped on diagonal as garnish
1 bunch fresh mint, leaves only as garnish
1 lemon or lime, sliced as garnish
Cut the rack of lamb into single or double chops and place in a glass dish. In a food processor, blend the ginger, garlic and cilantro into a smooth paste, then add the sesame oil, samba oelek, and vegetable oil and pulse until mixed. Pour the mixture over the lamb, and using your hands, massage into the chops, and allow to marinate for 1-2 hours. Preheat oven to 425°F. Arrange the lamb chops topped with the marinade on a foil lined baking tray and roast for 10-15 minutes, until the chops are brined but still pink inside. To serve, arrange on a warmed platter and garnish with chopped scallions, fresh mint leaves and few wedges of fresh lemon or lime.