Fennel-Crusted Grilled Rack of Lamb

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Jesse Silver

Fennel seeds and rosemary perfume every bite of this tenderest of cuts. You can also roast the lamb in a 450° oven (meat side up) until it reaches an internal temperature of 140°, about 25 minutes. Paired with grilled asparagus and long-simmered white beans, it makes an Easter-worthy dinner.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10
Recipe from Sunset

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Recipe Time

Total: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Marinate: 4 Hours

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 552
  • Calories from fat: 73%
  • Protein: 34g
  • Fat: 45g
  • Saturated fat: 18g
  • Carbohydrate: 1.5g
  • Fiber: 0.7g
  • Sodium: 798mg
  • Cholesterol: 146mg


  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 racks American lamb (7 to 8 ribs each), bone ends frenched and all but a thin layer of outer fat removed*


  1. 1. Crush fennel seeds, rosemary, and garlic with salt in a mortar, or chop as finely as possible. Mix with pepper and oil.
  2. 2. Slather lamb with marinade. Chill, covered, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
  3. 3. Take lamb out of refrigerator 1 hour before grilling. Wrap bone ends with foil.
  4. 4. Heat a grill to medium-high (400°) with one area left clear of coals (for charcoal) or a burner turned off (for gas) to make an indirect heat area. Grill lamb, meat side down, over indirect heat 5 minutes. Turn over and grill 10 minutes. Turn again; grill 10 minutes more. Move lamb to direct heat, meat side down, and grill 3 to 5 minutes, or until it's crisp and browned and registers 140° (for medium-rare).
  5. 5. Let lamb rest on a platter 15 minutes. Cut between the bones to serve.
  6. *Leave the barest sheath of fat on the meat--enough to crisp up on the grill but not so much that the dripping fat creates an inferno.
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