Rack of lamb is the most elegant of all red meats, the perfect special-occasion entree, and can be as easy or as elaborate as you like. Here, we start with a marinade of common Mediterranean flavors rubbed onto the outside of the meat, and then gild the lily a little more by actually stuffing the rack, it's fun to do, and everybody enjoys finding surprises inside their food. (Well, delicious surprises, anyway.) Of course, lamb is so flavorful and delicious, you can just rub it with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil, and roast it plain and simple, too.
For the Marinade:
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
For the stuffing:
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- 1 rack of lamb (about 8 chops)
To make the Marinade: Zest the lemon with a fine grater, taking care to only remove the yellow peelthe white pith beneath it is bitter. Use the lemon juice for cocktails, or splash a bit into the marinade if you really love citrus. Mix all the marinade ingredients together.
To make the Stuffing: Mix the stuffing ingredients together.
To prepare the Lamb: Cut the rack in 1/2 crosswise so that each piece contains 4 chops. Insert a long, skinny knife into 1 end of the meat and push it through until the tip emerges from the other end. Then, remove the knife and use the handle of a wooden spoon to ream out a 1/2-inch hole, forming a tube through the 4 chops. With your fingers, press half the stuffing into the rack, making sure it's distributed evenly. Repeat with the other half of lamb.
Place the lamb in a zipper baggie, spoon the marinade onto the meat, and rub it in a little bit. Marinate for at least 1 hour, preferably 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Roast the chops for 25 minutes for medium rare, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 135 degrees F. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes (during which they continue cooking, and the juices run back to the center). Slice into individual chops, if you like, fan across the plate, garnish with a rosemary sprig, and serve.