Hello, Spring! Lamb with Mustard Green & Chard Pesto

Springtime and Easter are upon us, which means we're on the hunt for crowd-pleasing lamb recipes. Roasting a rack of lamb is so simple and this gorgeous pesto, packed with flavor and nutrition, is as easy as pressing a button on the food processor!

Mustard greens, which are members of the same tribe as kale, cauliflower, and cabbage, are hearty, dark leafy greens which come into season in April (yep, they really are the perfect Easter veggie!). They are spicyand unique, while Swiss chard is more familiar and mellow, keeping the mustard from overpowering the dish. 

Lamb with Spicy Mustard Green & Chard Pesto

For the lamb:
1 rack of lamb (7-8 ribs), frenched and trimmed of excess fat

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp kosher salt

For the pesto:
2 cups mustard greens, trimmed and roughly chopped

2 cups Swiss chard, ribs removed and roughly chopped

1/2 - 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

1 large clove garlic, chopped

1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice

1/2 tsp sea salt 

For the lamb:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. 
  2. Rub lamb with olive oil, mustard, and salt. Place bone side down (fat side up) into a large cast iron or other baking pan, then cover the exposed bones with foil to prevent burning. 
  3. Roast the lamb for about 10 minutes or until you notice a nice golden brown sear on the meat. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and continue roasting for about 10-15 more minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat shows your preferred doneness. [See here for a handy guide to lamb temperatures!] Cover lamb with foil and allow to rest for 10-12 minutes before cutting the rack into chops.

For the pesto:

  1. Add mustard greens, Swiss chard, pine nuts, garlic, lemon or orange juice, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 5-7 times until greens are minced. 
  2. With the food processor on, drizzle in olive oil until pesto comes together. 
  3. Transfer pesto to a bowl and stir in the Pecorino cheese. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt as necessary. 

To serve: 

Serve 2-3 lamb chops per person. Spoon pesto over the top just before serving. 

Photo: Darren Muir