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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.


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