Middle Eastern Za'atar Crusted Rack of Lamb with Zhoug

Za’atar Crusted Rack of Lamb with Zhoug

A brilliant centrepiece for a roast, a great dish for entertaining or just a special meal to share for two, rack of lamb is one of my favourite cuts of meat and it’s surprisingly easy to make.

Lamb and thyme are partners in crime and with lamb featuring heavily in Middle Eastern cooking, za’atar works really with lamb for both flavour and to give a great texture against buttery tender lamb. Zhoug is a herby, zesty, spicy condiment from Yemen and it adds some real vibrancy to the gamey flavour of lamb. Serve with roasted cherry tomatoes or crunchy green beans, this is a show-stopping meal which is easy to make and always looks impressive. 

Za’atar Crusted Rack of Lamb with Zhoug

Za’atar Crusted Rack of Lamb with Zhoug

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Course: Dinner, SpringCuisine: Middle EasternDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



This dish draws on Middle Eastern flavours to elevate a classic cut of meat to something that’s certain to impress.


  • Rack of Lamb
  • 2 racks of lamb, French trimmed

  • Olive oil

  • Sea salt

  • 2 tbsp za’atar

  • 1 preserved lemon, sliced in half

  • A few sprigs of rosemary

  • Zhoug
  • 1 small bunch of coriander, leaves picked

  • 1 small bunch of parsley, leaves picked

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • 1 green chill, deseeded and roughly chopped or 1 tbsp pickled Jalapeño peppers

  • 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds

  • 1/2 tsp sugar

  • 50 ml olive oil


  • Rack of Lamb
  • An hour before cooking, season the lamb by drizzling with olive oil and sprinkling with sea salt. Press the za’atar into the lamb, cover tightly with clingfilm and leave to get to marinate and get to room temperature.
  • Heat the oven to 190˚C.
  • Place a large frying pan over a high heat then place the marinated racks in the pan fat-side down. Cook till golden brown, around 2 minutes then turn and sear for 1 minute.
  • Put the racks in a large roasting tin, standing them upright with bones interlinked. Add the preserved lemon and rosemary to the tray.
  • Roast for 8-10 minutes for pink meat and a couple more minutes if you want meat to be medium. Test that the meat it cooked by inserting a metal skewer into the centre of the meat – it should be warm to touch. Cook for a further 2 minutes if it isn’t.
  • Remove the lamb from the from the oven and transfer to a warmed plate. Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Zhoug
  • Blitz everything, except the oil, until smooth.
  • Continue to blitz whilst adding the oil in a steady stream, until the sauce is thick and glossy. Taste and season accordingly.

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