Spring lamb is a delight of the season. Ask your butcher for a nine-rib rack, if possible, and have it "French cut" (meat between the rib bones removed) and fully trimmed.
Source: Martha Stewart Living, Spring 1991
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
4 or 5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
9-rib rack of lamb, French cut and trimmed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for sauteing
Coarsely grind the black pepper in a minichopper. Add the garlic, salt, and olive oil, and puree.
Rub the lamb, front and back, with the black-pepper paste. Let sit at room temperature for at least 45 minutes.
Heat oven to 500 degrees.
In a heavy saute pan slightly bigger than the rack of lamb, heat the vegetable oil over high heat until smoking. Saute the lamb, back side of the ribs facing up, until almost blackened. Turn gently, being careful not to break the pepper paste, and saute on back side for 30 seconds. Put the pan in the oven, and roast for 8 (rare) to 12 (medium well) minutes. When done, remove from the pan and let rest in a warm place for at least 5 minutes.
If you don't have an oven-proof saute pan, preheat the oven dish and carefully transfer the lamb to it after sauteing.