Feta-Crusted Lamb with Rich Tomato Sauce
Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 30 Minutes (+ Marinating & Resting)
- 7 or 8 bone rack of lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into two racks
- Few thyme sprigs, left whole, plus extra sprigs to serve
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying and drizzling
- ½ lemon zest
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp dried oregano
For the sauce:
- 20g pack flat-leaf parsley
- 1 fat or 2 regular garlic cloves, crushed
- 400g can of cherry tomatoes
For the crust:
- 50g feta cheese, finely crumbled
- ½ lemon zest
- Pinch of dried oregano
- ½ slice white bread whizzed into crumbs
Marinate the lamb first. Put the racks int a non-metallic dish and mix the thyme, oil, lemon zest, garlic and half the oregano in a bowl. Rub this all over the lamb, then leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. It's important that you cook the lamb from room temperature rather than fridge cold, so if you're cooking within 1 hour or so, leave it out of the fridge.
For the sauce, finely chop the parsley stalks. Heat an ovenproof frying pan or wide casserole, then add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the garlic and the stalks, then soften for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and remaining oregano, then simmer for 5 minutes until sauce, popping the cherry tomatoes with your wooden spoon releases all the juices and seeds. Chop the parsley leaves roughly and add half to the pan. Heat oven to 230°C/fan 210°C/gas, Make the crust by mixing the remaining parsley leaves, feta, zest, oregano, and breadcrumbs into a bowl.
When you're ready to cook the lamb, leave most of the tasty marinade on the meat, season it well with salt and freshly ground pepper, then press the crust onto one side of each pieces. Sit the racks in the sauce, with the crust-side facing upwards. Strew the thyme sprigs from the marinade over the lamb and into the sauce, then drizzle everything with a little extra-virgin olive oil. Roast the lamb in the sauce, uncovered, for 20 minutes (for pink and juicy meat), until the crust is golden and the sauce thickened.
Leave to rest for 10 minutes, loosely covered, so that the crust doesn't go soggy, then carve the lamb between each bone to make cutlets. Serve the crusted cutlets with spoonfuls of the intense, roasted-down tomato sauce. Garnish with thyme.
Credit: Jane Hornby