In the Mediterranean, lamb is what’s eaten in the spring—for Easter, Passover, Norooz, and, if it falls in spring, Eid. It's usually very young lamb that’s eaten, barely weaned if at all, the meat pale pink and mild, with none of the gamy-ness older lamb has. Simply roasted or grilled, it is a centerpiece of Easter Sunday meals all over Italy and what I always want to cook myself, especially when paired with some fresh spring vegetables: fava beans, asparagus, or tender small artichokes if I can find them. This is a really easy dish to prepare, yet looks beautiful and dramatic as a centerpiece of the table. —Sara Jenkins
cleaned 8-rib lamb rack (about 2 pounds)
grainy Dijon mustard
cloves of garlic
each of rosemary, sage, and marjoram
fennel pollen (optional)
cracked black pepper
In This Recipe
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Chop up the garlic and herbs in the food processor. When they are well chopped, add the mustard and purée until a smooth paste forms.
Smear the paste over the exterior of the lamb and place on a roasting pan. Season liberally with sea salt and roast for 15 minutes at 450° F. Turn the oven down to 325° F and cook for 30 to 40 minutes more, or until a meat thermometer registers 130 to 140° for rare to medium-rare. Let the roast rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.