Grilled Rack of Lamb with Garlic, Chilies and Anchovies

"grilled lamb chop"

My food magazines seem to pile up quickly these days so to encourage myself to sit down long enough to look at them, I make a small pile and carry them from one room to another thinking their physical presence will be a reminder.  It’s not an effective plan on most days for obvious reasons, such as, I’m busy doing other things?

But last Friday the sun unexpectedly graced us with its brilliance burning through the June Gloom, and I found myself daydreaming out the windows instead of doing the dishes, listening to the dribble of water from the fountain on our patio my husband diligently worked on to get the large spout at the top to run well enough to fill the smaller ones.  Will wonders never cease.  It’s a nice sound that distracts me from the traffic just over our wall and watching the hummingbirds trying to bathe themselves in it is hilarious.  I haven’t been able to get a shot of them yet, but give me a few weeks.

I give in to the urge to go out and sit in the warmth.  The sun feels good, so I relax a bit and begin to thumb through the magazines remembering how much I enjoy the summer issues.  Everything is fresh and the recipes are relatively uncomplicated.

It’s not long after I’ve had some time to make a mental list of my favorites that I email my best friend and invite myself and husband to dinner at her house.  It takes a bit of arm wrestling to get her to agree to let me make the entire dinner, but she loves the recipes I mention, so dinner it is.

I make a quick run to the store for ingredients, do some easy prep, and everything is ready to pack up and take to her house for a night of food that comes one dish at a time — with wine, of course.

When’s the last time you grilled lamb?  This recipe is truly delicious, and quite easy to make — even at the last minute.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Garlic, Chilies and Anchovies from Food & Wine

"fresh mint"


I used the little bundle of mint from one of my planters that always seems to have grown back after its last plucking by the time I next need it.


"red jalapenos"

The recipe calls for 3 red jalapenos, and I didn’t think anything of that at first because they never seem to have that much heat.  But after cutting into one, I could smell the pungency, so only used one.

"chili pepper oil"

The chiles release all their spicy goodness into the oil.

"lamb marinade ingredients"

Chop the rest of the ingredients up to make a nice paste.

"racks of lamb with marinade"

Pour all the goodness over the lamb — or put it in a plastic bag so it can sit and soak up all the flavors.

"lamb chops"

We grilled the racks whole to sear them, but sadly, did not protect the very delicate bones with foil first.  Yes, we know we’re supposed to.  The grill master mentioned that they were actually on fire at one time.

"grilling lamb chops"

After the racks were seared (uh, almost incinerated), and after much discussion, both racks were sliced into 2-bone chops and sent back to the grill for additional cooking.  Just a bit.

"grilled lamb chop"

Thankfully, they were absolutely delicious.

Recipe Notes:

  • The original recipe can be found here.
  • If you’re thinking “Ewww…Anchovies!” try this.  Anchovies lend such great flavor to so many recipes. To me, they seem to enhance the other flavors.  If you’re not sure, then cut down on the quantity, but give them a try.  And when you take that first bite, think of what you’re eating instead of, “This has anchovies in it.”
  • I marinated two whole racks of lamb for this recipe instead of individual chops, putting all ingredients into a zip-lock bag for about 3 hours.  It was enough.  Even using only 1 chile, we could taste just a hint of heat.
  • For extra heat for those who enjoy it, grill extra chiles and slice them up for serving.  It’s a nice accompaniment to a bite of the succulent lamb.
  • Why racks of lamb instead of the chops the recipe called for?  Lamb chops are so very tiny and tender.  I enjoy doing different things with racks of lamb, so searing them before moving on always presents a nice, tender product.  The idea of using the grill for those tiny things had trouble written all over it — especially considering the oil in the marinade which caused the flare up.  We grill quite often, but we’re not experts.  Wasting a lovely natural lamb product isn’t worth it.


13 thoughts on “Grilled Rack of Lamb with Garlic, Chilies and Anchovies

    1. I remember that you love lamb and as funny as it may seem, think of you when I’m shopping and see it in the case. Smart girl, you!

  1. It has been SO long since I’ve had lamb. No one in my house will eat it, and my husband calls it mutton in obvious protest. One thing I have been able to slip by everyone in my house are anchovies. They are a wonderful addition to so many dishes.
    I too have a stack of reading material that I move from room to room with the hope that I will take a moment and make my way through a little each day. But with two kids at home and all of their friends coming in and out, I can’t keep up with much!

    1. We aren’t big lamb eaters, either, because neither of us grew up eating it. I’ve introduced it slowly, and with recipes from the Middle East. The spices are completely amazing and a nice, slow cook really makes the dish. The alternative is something like this. Truly a fresh, remarkable taste — nothing remotely like mutton 🙂 Glad to know I’m in such good company with my magazine reading habits. Hope you and your kidlets are having a great summer so far.

  2. I put anchovies in everything! Vinaigrettes, pasta sauces, marinades… They add a nice punch of flavor.

    Way to go inviting yourself over to your friend’s house! 🙂

    Beautifully incinerated.


    1. Thanks, Kim! I love anchovies in vinaigrettes, too. And Pasta Putanesca wouldn’t quite be the same without them. Living near my best friend is one of life’s true pleasures. She’s a foodie, too, and has been more the one who has hosted more often, so she was due for a treat. It was a great evening. I’ll pass along your feedback to my grill master 🙂

  3. I never had lamb as a kid, but now it’s a favorite of mine and I get a whole lamb every year from my CSA farm. And thanks to your nudge, I just counted and have 16 unread food magazines on my desk that I need to tackle…

    1. I keep saying I’m going to take on a CSA and then never get around to doing it : / Sort of like reading my food mags. Thankfully, I don’t have 16!

  4. I’m definitely more enamored with the summer issues than any other issues. All of these fresh flavors…they can’t help but make me happy! I love this grilled lamb. It’s definitely been a while since I prepared it, but it never fails to taste good!

  5. Swoon. I love lamb, but I’m swinging by to tell you how beautiful that photo is of the anchovies, mint, and garlic. Truly magazine worthy, and oh yes! – that recipe sounds ( and looks) delicious!

  6. This is so fabulous! I don’t mind at all cooking this just for me (I have no volunteers). How many times I scrolled up to see the photos before finishing a sentence? I am NOT telling you, Kelly! 😉

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