A rack of lamb is the whole rib chop section from one side of the lamb from the top of the shoulder blade to the beginning of the loin. This is a delicious, tender and expensive cut, and it becomes pricier when you consider that a single rack will only serve 2 to 3 people. But, while a rack of lamb isn’t cheap at home, it’s a fraction of what it would be in a restaurant. And it is simple and quick to prepare (0nce again proving the adage that the more luxurious the cut, the easier it is to cook).
The first thing to look for in choosing a rack of lamb is the purple grading stamp on the fat: the top grade is U.S.D.A. prime, but that usually is available only to restaurants. Choice is the next grade down and is slightly less expensive. The meat should be fresh, silky and a deep bright red and the fat should be hard and a milky white. The eye of the roast, the meatiest part, should be reasonably large and rounded, Turn the rack over and examine the bones on the underside. They should be tinged with pink and rounded (flat, white bones indicate age). Tell your butcher you want the rack fully trimmed, which means removing the backbone, trimming the rack to expose the lower ribs, removing any excess fat or “cap” meat from the ends of the rack and “Frenching” the bone ends (scraping away any meat and tissue so the bones are left clean and bare).