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Rack of Lamb with Garlic and Herbs

['2 (8-rib) frenched racks of lamb (each rack 1 1/2 lb), trimmed of all but a thin layer of fat', '1 1/2 teaspoons salt', '3/4 teaspoon black pepper', '1 teaspoon vegetable oil', '1/2 head new garlic or 3 large regular garlic cloves, minced', '1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley', '1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme', '2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary', '1/2 teaspoon salt', '1/2 teaspoon black pepper', '1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil', 'an instant-read thermometer']

Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until hot, at least 2 minutes. Meanwhile, pat lamb dry and rub meat all over with salt and pepper. Add oil to hot skillet, then brown racks, in 2 batches if necessary, on all sides (not ends), about 10 minutes per batch.
Transfer racks to a small (13- by 9-inch) roasting pan.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Stir together garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and oil. Coat meaty parts of lamb with herb mixture, pressing to help adhere. Roast 15 minutes, then cover lamb loosely with foil and roast until thermometer inserted diagonally into center of meat registers 120°F, 5 to 10 minutes more. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. (Internal temperature will rise to 125 to 130°F for medium-rare while lamb stands.)
Cut each rack into 4 double chops.

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