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Cocoa-Rubbed Rack of Lamb with Gremolata

Servings: 2

Smoked paprika and cocoa powder add a subtle earthiness that complements the full flavor of lamb. If you can, use New Zealand or Australian lamb; it tends to be smaller, just right for two people (with a chop or two left over for late-night nibbling).


  • 1 rack of lamb (8 bones), trimmed and frenched (about 1-1/4 lb.), preferably New Zealand
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbs. light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbs. finely minced lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 440
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 240
  • Fat (g): 27
  • Saturated Fat (g): 7
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Cholesterol (mg): 110
  • Sodium (mg): 1270
  • Carbohydrates (g): 13
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Sugar (g): 7
  • Protein (g): 38


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 400°F. Pat the lamb dry with paper towels. Season all over with 2 tsp. kosher salt, and let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, paprika, cumin, allspice, and 1 tsp. pepper. Sprinkle the spice mixture all over the meat, lightly patting onto the meat to adhere.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb, and lightly sear on all sides, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent the spices from burning, about 3 minutes total. Transfer the lamb to a large rimmed baking sheet, and roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the gremolata. In a medium bowl, combine the parsley, zest, and garlic. Season to taste with kosher salt. Set aside.
  • Transfer the lamb to a cutting board, and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing into chops. Sprinkle with the gremolata and flaky sea salt, and serve.


Rate or Review

Reviews (1 review)

  • cookrose | 03/24/2020

    With most grocery stores carrying lamb rack in a vacuum-sealed package with a long sell-by date, you can pick some up and keep it around in your fridge, just ready for a nice night at home. We found the seasoning in this dish to be just right. I changed a couple of things in the preparation, however. A couple of hours in advance of roasting, I rubbed the dry ingredients onto the lamb, adding a little safflower oil to create a nice paste that adhered to the meat, and refrigerated it (uncovered). Instead of the two-step cooking process described in the published recipe, I did what has worked for me before: I brought the meat to nearly room temperature, then roasted it at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. After roasting, I allowed the meat to rest for 15 minutes before carving into individual chops. I "dragged" each chop around in the bottom of the roasting pan to pick up some of the extra seasoning before putting the meat on plates. That, plus the gremolata, made this lamb probably the best I've tried at home.

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