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Rack of Lamb with Spinach Pine Nut Crust
Yield: 6 servings

3 racks of lamb (8 ribs and about 1-1/2 pounds each), Frenched to eye of meat
1 tb vegetable oil
2 tb Dijon mustard

1/2 c pine nuts (about 3 ounces)
1 lb spinach (about 2 bunches)
1/4 lb sliced smoked ham
1 c packed fresh flat leafed parsley leaves
4 tb unsalted butter, softened
2 c fine fresh bread crumbs
1 lg egg
1 lg egg yolk
1 ts finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/2 ts salt
1/4 ts freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a baking pan toast pine nuts in middle of oven until golden,
about 10 minutes, and cool. Discard stems from spinach and coarsely
chop spinach. Rinse spinach and drain in a colander. In a large
heavy kettle cook spinach in water clinging to leaves, covered, 1
minute, or until just wilted. Drain spinach well in colander,
pressing out excess liquid with back of a large spoon, and cool.
Tear ham into pieces. In a food processor pulse spinach with nuts,
parsley, ham, and butter until finely chopped and transfer to a
large bowl. Stir in remaining crust ingredients until combined
well. Crust mixture may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Increase temperature to 425 degrees.

If leaving strip of fat on racks, score a diamond pattern on fat
with tip of a sharp thin knife. Halve lamb racks to form six 4-rib
pieces. Pat lamb dry and season with salt and pepper.

In a large heavy skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until
hot but not smoking and lightly brown pieces 2 at a time, on all
sides, about 1 minute total for each batch. Transfer pieces as
browned to a large shallow roasting pan and arrange meaty sides
up. Spread meaty side of each piece with 1 teaspoon mustard. Divide
crust mixture into 6 portions and pat over mustard coating on each
piece, gently pressing to help adhere.

Roast lamb in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until a thermometer
inserted 2-inches into center registers 135 degrees for medium
rare. Transfer lamb to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes.

Cut lamb into individual chops and serve with minted pea sauce.


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