The standard way to cook a rack of lamb is to sear the meat in a skillet, then cover it in some kind of coating (mustard, herbs, breadcrumbs, etc.), then roast it in the oven—aka the “sear and smear.” While this method works just fine, it’s also failed us in the past: the crust slides off (because we didn’t let the seared lamb cool), the crust burns in the oven (because the lamb took too long to cook through), or the crust falls off in shards once we begin to carve (because it got too crusty).

So after being crust-fallen too many times, we came up with a better method—let’s call it “cook, then crust”—that flips the script. First, you sear a lamb in a cast iron skillet, then finish cooking it in the oven (which gives you the added bonus of a more deeply caramelized exterior), then dredge it in a crunchy, herby coating right before you carve and serve. This guarantees that the lamb is perfectly cooked to your liking and the crust stays intact.

Field Notes


Depending on where you buy them, your lamb racks might come Frenched (that is, trimmed of extra fat and meat down to the rib) or untrimmed, with bonus fat and meat attached. Both work equally well in this recipe, and following our “cook and crust” method will render more of the excess fat as it roasts.


Since the breadcrumbs are toasted separately from the lamb, you get to decide how brown you want your crust. We like a medium golden brown, but you can go as light or dark as you please.


If you really like crust, you can carve the racks into individual ribs, then brush them with mustard and dredge each in the breadcrumb mixture.

Recipe: Cooked and Crusted Racks of Lamb

Yield: 8 servings



Preheat the oven to 450°F and position a rack in the center.


Heat a Field Skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Season the lamb all over with salt. Add the oil to the skillet and heat until it shimmers, then add the lamb and sear until golden brown all over, 2 to 3 minutes per side. When done, position the racks of lamb fatty side up (it’s OK if the bones are overlapping).


Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the lamb until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 130°F (for medium-rare), 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and tent with foil.


While the lamb roasts, make the crust. Heat the butter in a No.8 or No.10 Field Skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Scrape the breadcrumbs into a bowl and stir in the lemon zest and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Brush the lamb all over with Dijon mustard, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture, pressing it tightly so it adheres.


Carve the lamb into individual or two-rib portions and serve.