Rosemary Dijon Rack of Lamb with Crispy Potatoes

rack of lamb

Would you believe that I’ve cooked lamb necks, lamb shoulders, lamb legs, but never that most famous lamb preparation of all… a classic rack of lamb?

The reason’s actually pretty simple: rack of lamb is expensive. And as confident as I am as a meat cook, I’m always scared that if I splurge on something as decadent as a rack of lamb, I’m going to screw it up. And meat is hard to fix once you overcook it. Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry with this particular rack because it was a gift! Well, I received a gift certificate for $100 for an online butcher and I chose one 1 1/2 pound rack of lamb that, with shipping, worked out to the full $100. (I know, that’s insane, but now you know why I’ve avoided cooking lamb racks for so long.)

Once my rack arrived, I popped it straight into the freezer and left it there as I pondered what to do with it. Then, afraid that I’d never cook it if I didn’t just defrost it, I placed it in the refrigerator for two days as I explored my options. When it was finally time to go, I knew which recipe I wanted to make: David Tanis’s Rosemary Rack of Lamb with Crushed Potatoes.

Tanis, Anyone?

David Tanis knows something about lamb that I also know from my previous lamb efforts: the best ingredient to draw out the taste of lamb is… anchovies. Yes, you heard that right. The umami of an anchovy draws out the inherent funkiness of lamb which makes it so much more interesting than your typical boring red meat. Mashed together with garlic, stirred together with lots of Dijon mustard, and then emulsified with olive oil, you season the meat generously with salt and pepper and then slathered this potent mixture all over your rack (your lamb rack, I should say) while you deal with your potatoes.

The potato prep is as easy as this: you boil little potatoes in salted water until a knife through one easily. Then you smash them, toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper, lots of chopped fresh rosemary and place the lamb on top… sprinkling with even more rosemary.

The Perfect Rack of Lamb

Sometimes you can look at something before it goes into the oven and just know it’s going to turn out dyn-o-mite. This was one of those times.

And guess what? Cooked at 400 degrees for just twenty minutes, the lamb came out better than it would at a restaurant. I kid you not! Using a thermometer to insure proper doneness, I stopped cooking the lamb when it hit 125 for medium-rare. I lifted the lamb off of the potatoes on to a cutting board to rest for ten minutes while I tossed the potatoes and put them back into the oven to crisp up.

Once I sliced into the perfectly cooked lamb, it was hard not to gobble up every morsel right then and there.

But I was kind enough to bring it to the table where, like barbarians, we devoured it. The meat alone was transcendently good cooked to that perfect medium-rare temperature; but with the marinade? All of that garlic and the anchovies and the mustard? It was otherworldly. And the potatoes were the perfect crispy foil for all of that succulent meat.

A meal like this is so good, I’m glad I can only afford it once in a blue moon or I’d be eating so much lamb, my future blog posts would all read “bahhhhh.” But there’s nothing bahhhhd about this rack of lamb. I can’t wait to make it again.

rack of lamb

Rosemary Dijon Rack of Lamb with Crispy Potatoes

David Tanis's otherworldly rack of lamb with garlic, anchovies, Dijon, rosemary, and crispy potatoes.
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Keyword anchovies, David Tanis, lamb, meat, rosemary
Servings 4 people


  • 2 racks of lamb, 1 1/2 pounds each, Frenched I only did one rack but made the same amount of marinade and the same amount of potatoes and it worked great.
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 anchovy filets
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds small potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley, for garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bring a pot of water to a boil, seasoning it well with salt.
  • Pat your rack of lamb dry and then season it all over with lots of salt and pepper.
  • In a mortar and pestle, smash together the garlic and anchovies until you get a paste (add a little salt to help it along). Stir in the Dijon and then work in about 1/2 cup of olive oil. Slather the marinade all over the lamb and set aside.
  • Boil the potatoes until a knife goes through one easily, about ten to fifteen minutes. Drain them and then place them in a roasting pan (or large cast-iron skillet) large enough to fit them in one layer. When they're cool enough to handle, smash them with the palm of your hand or a measuring cup, toss with two tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, and some of the chopped rosemary.
  • Lay the lamb on top of the potatoes and sprinkle with the rest of the rosemary. Roast in the oven for about twenty minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the lamb reads 125, for medium-rare.
  • Lift the lamb off of the potatoes on to a cutting board, tenting with foil, to allow to rest for ten minutes (don't skip this step or all the juices will run out!). Meanwhile, toss the potatoes around and place back into the oven until they get nice and crispy.
  • To plate: scoop the potatoes on to plates and slice the lamb between the bones. You should get about four chops per customer. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Related Posts:

Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

Porchetta at Home

How to Roast a Leg of Lamb

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