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Pistachio crusted rack of lamb

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rack of lamb for dinner

I had a single old rack of lamb (only 8 skinny ribs in total) laying in my freezer for over a year. Each time I wanted to cook it, my husband would object: “let’s save it for the special occasion, when we have guests”. Whenever we had guests, I would look at that lonely rack of lamb in the freezer and would think, hmm, that doesn’t look like enough food for 6 people, unless we want to serve an average of one rib per person, which would make us look like one of those fine dining restaurants that serve a tiny portion of meat on a huge plate. So, I would close the freezer and skip the lamb. For some reason, this type of reasoning has continued for about a year.

Finally, on one sunny day when we were not expecting any guests, I was scanning the freezer for the meat to use and when I saw that over-year-old-lonely-single rack of lamb, I for some reason decided to grab it, defrost it and cook it that very night.

To my luck, the rack of lamb did not suffer any freezer burn and the end result was more than satisfying.

This is a simple recipe that does not require a lot of work, except to make sure that you don’t overcook the lamb. The lamb itself is so flavorful – that’s what makes the dish. I just added a couple of accents, such as pistachio crust and 3 simple side dishes (mashed potatoes, carrots, and asparagus).


My sister tends to call rack of lamb – the “lack of ramb”, not because it’s funny, but because she just mixes those letters in this word combination. Like an annoying music tune that won’t go away, I catch myself doing the same thing. So, since I was typing this post in the evening (not my best time of concentrated thought), I had to go back and correct a couple of lacks of ramb that I managed to type into this post.

pistachio crusted rack of lamb for dinner

Pistachio crusted rack of lamb

Prep time: 1 hr
Cook time: 1 hr 15 min


  • 1 rack of lamb (8 ribs)
  • Salt and pepper to generously season lamb
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pistachios (without shells)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 large long carrots
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • salt to taste

Makes 3 servings (or 2 servings if one of the two persons served is very hungry)

1) Preheat oven to 400 F.

2) Place pistachios, bread crumbs, salt and pepper into the food processor and process until really crumbly. Drizzle 1 table spoon of olive oil all over the bread and pistachio mixture and mix until well combined.

3) Season lamb with salt and pepper.

4) Warm a large skillet over high heat. When the skillet is hot , add olive oil enough to film the bottom of the pan (1 tbsp of oil, maybe a little bit more)

5) Add lamb to the skillet, cooking for about 3 minutes on each side to brown.

rack of lamb browning

rack of lamb browning on the other side

6) Transfer lamb to a medium size roasting pan, with the fatty side up like shown on this picture below. Spread mustard over the top portion of the rack (the fatty side). Then pat pistachio and bread crumb mixture over mustard coating on lamb. Press to make sure it adheres.

rack of lamb coated with pistachio crust

7) Roast lamb for about 20-25 minutes, medium-rare. If using thermometer, it should register 130 F. Transfer to a cutting board or a plate.

8) Cut the lamb into chops, 3 or 2 ribs each.

To cook carrots:

1) Slice each carrot into 4 pieces, lengthwise, so that you have thin long pieces of carrots.

2) Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet on high heat. Add the carrots, they should sizzle. Stir to coat with oil. Add a pinch of salt. Add a little bit of parsley and oregano.

roasting carrots

3) Cook on high heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are nicely browned and get the “roasted” look – for 10-15 minutes. After that, remove from heat, cover with lid and let carrots stay covered for at least 10 minutes

To cook asparagus:

1) Bring medium size pan with water to boil. Add asparagus and cook for about 10 minutes until asparagus is somewhat soft but still crunchy.

2) Drain asparagus, pat dry. Add to the skillet with carrots. Stir to coat with oil. Add salt if necessary.

Use your favorite recipe for mashed potatoes or use mine (which I will be adding soon).

To serve, put 3 large spoonfuls of mashed potatoes in the center of the plate, top with lamb ribs. Add roasted carrots and asparagus at the base.

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{ 31 comments… add one }
  • Paula September 15, 2012, 4:37 pm

    Wow! Great story to go with a gorgeous looking dish!

    • Julia September 15, 2012, 6:59 pm


  • Dina September 15, 2012, 8:22 pm

    Julia, thanks for visiting my site. I LOVE your blog and images. Beautiful work.
    Stay in touch.

    • Julia September 16, 2012, 12:57 am

      Thank you!

  • sneh September 16, 2012, 6:54 am

    Hi Julia,

    The rack of lamb looks delicious! lovely blog.
    Thanks for visiting my site.

    • Julia September 16, 2012, 11:31 pm

      I liked your site because you feature so many great ethnic dishes – Indian recipes, mostly, right?

  • Judy | Bebe Love Okazu September 16, 2012, 7:21 am

    Hi Julia, Your photos are so gorgeous. Photography is such a challenge for me! Your lamb looks amazing. I used to enjoy it but somehow my tastes changed and I can no longer eat it. My husband still loves it though and he would enjoy this lamb quite a bit! Hope you’re having a great weekend.

    • Julia September 16, 2012, 11:39 pm

      Judy, most people around me don’t like lamb much, either, but this rack of lamb is always a hit, mainly because this is the high quality lamb cut. I cook lamb quite often, I actually have 2 more lamb recipes lined up I will post soon. My husband loves lamb, too.

  • Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch September 16, 2012, 8:18 am

    Mmm.. This rack of lamb looks AMAZING! What a wonderful job! I think any day should be special enough for a fabulous dinner! Have a fabulous week!

    • Julia September 16, 2012, 11:29 pm

      Thank you! I agree – I aim to have at least one day a week for a special dinner.

  • MissNo September 16, 2012, 9:54 am

    In Poland we can’t buy lamb. As well as many other things. I more think about emigration.

    • Julia September 16, 2012, 11:40 pm

      You have a lovely site! And it’s amazing how well the Google Translator works on your site – it translates pretty well.

  • cathy September 16, 2012, 7:23 pm

    what kind of mustard did you use?

    • Julia September 16, 2012, 11:27 pm

      Cathy, I used Dijon mustard. Just spread a little bit of it over the top portion of the rack – I use it as a glue for the crust.

  • [email protected] September 17, 2012, 10:27 am

    Your rack of lamb looks amazing! As it should since you were waiting over a year to eat it 🙂 I think I’ve only cooked rack of lamb once and it was years ago. Really should cook lamb more often though because I love it. I have 2 hungry teenagers to feed so may have to go with leg of lamb so I don’t go broke.
    The pistachio crust sounds delicious.

    • Julia September 18, 2012, 1:20 am

      The leg of lamb is pretty good too. I once cooked it Moroccan style, with lots of cumin and coriander – yummy!

  • Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen September 17, 2012, 6:49 pm

    Wow this looks incredible!!! Love those pistachios 🙂

    • Julia September 18, 2012, 1:21 am

      Yeah, they never fail in a recipe…

  • thyme (sarah) September 17, 2012, 7:08 pm

    I never ate lamb growing up…it must have not been a part of the Louisiana culture. I was an adult when I tasted lamb for the first time. I loved it. Rack of lamb is my favorite and yours looks so delicious.

    • Julia September 18, 2012, 1:23 am

      Lamb has such a different flavor than any other meat, which is why I really like it. Leg of lamb is my second favorite cut after rack of lamb (ribs).

  • anna September 17, 2012, 9:42 pm

    ha! i always do that with food! especially with special food…there is always an excuse to save it for another time. i’m glad you went for it, it looks amazing!

    • Julia September 18, 2012, 1:25 am

      I know, I now have 3 quails in the freezer with the same history. Time to finally cook them too. Still saving them for some future “special” occasion that never comes. 🙂

  • Carole October 4, 2012, 11:40 am

    Hi there. This week’s Food on Friday is all about lamb! So it would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . Have a good week.

  • claire October 10, 2012, 10:35 pm

    Hi Julia, oh my goodness, I can’t get the words lack of ramb off my head! That lack rooks amazing. See? Thanks for visiting our site, your food is lovely.

    • Julia October 10, 2012, 10:39 pm

      LOL, you’re funny!

  • Let the Baking Begin! October 10, 2012, 10:57 pm

    Wow, this looks like something that’s served in a fancy restaurant!

  • Griffin October 26, 2012, 9:51 am

    Looks great! Very nice pic.

  • Ed March 6, 2013, 9:48 am

    I just found this site and saw how amazing this recipe looked. I was wondering what kind of sauce you put under the lamb in the picture, it looks really good.

  • Melanie March 13, 2015, 8:32 pm


    I love this recipe but twice now it’s ruined my dinner because you don’t list mustard in the ingredients. Please add!


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