This week these lovely lamb loin chops were on sale at our local grocery store for $9.99/pound. Usually when we are in the mood for lamb I buy a bone-in or boneless leg and roast it slowly or cut it up for an Indian curry. Rack of lamb and individual chops are expensive (up to $16.99/pound in our part of the country) and thus, I did not want to mess this recipe up!
I had this Bon Appétit recipe saved in my Epicurious recipe box online. It had garnered raves and 4 forks so it was time to try it. I was intrigued by the marinade which included both cumin and coriander in addition to the traditional mint and garlic.
Savory Mint Lamb Chops
Makes 4 servings
Recipe technique adapted slightly from Bon Appétit October 2006; originally published April 1991
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 (1- to 1 1/2-inch-thick) lamb loin chops (about 5 ounces each), trimmed
- Place olive oil, chopped fresh mint, minced garlic, salt, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, and black pepper in small bowl; mix well.
- Spread herb mixture over both sides of lamb chops. Let stand 10 minutes.
[Rebecca’s Note: I find that lamb benefits greatly from a longer marinating time. The flavors permeate the meat and enhance the lamb’s natural flavor. Let the chops sit in the marinade (turn occasionally) for at least an hour or overnight if you wish.]
The Bon Appétit recipe called for broiling the chops for 4 minutes per side but in my test the chops were a bit overdone (could have been my oven’s broiler temperature) and they lacked the crust you get when you sear meat.
The marinade was a keeper; even the overdone chops had a great flavor. I tested another batch of the chops with the same marinade and this time fired up my cast iron skillets.
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Carefully blot the marinade from the chops with paper towels. You want a good sear on the chops and a wet chop will create steam.
- Heat the cast iron pan over medium high heat and then add a teaspoon of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
[My searing technique: heat up the dry cast iron over your flame for at least a minute or two to get it nice and hot, THEN add your bit of oil and let that heat up for another minute til a drop of water sizzles in the oil.]
- Sear the chops over medium high heat for 2 and 1/2 minutes per side (4 chops fit in my pan so I use TWO pans for 8 chops); then place the skillet with chops in the hot oven for another 2-3 minutes.
- Place cooked chops on your cutting board and let them rest for 5 minutes to absorb their juices.
This resulted in a perfectly tender, rare to medium-rare chop (a little bit of pink in the center.)
NOTE: Cooking times for lamb chops will vary according to their thickness; I always err on the side of rare because you can always put them back in (but you can’t un-cook them!)
I am a sucker for an herbaceous pesto, salsa or chimichurri and this one from the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook (via the Alexandra Cooks blog) is spectacular with the lamb.
Bread Crumb Salsa
Source: Chez Panisse Café Cookbook
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
- kosher salt
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme (optional)
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained and minced
- 2 oil-packed anchovies, cleaned and chopped (I used 1 T. anchovy paste because that’s what I had; it worked fine)
- kosher salt to taste
>Heat a medium skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil starts looking hot, add the bread crumbs and a pinch of kosher salt and turn the heat down to medium.
[Rebecca’s Note: In all honesty, I burnt the crumbs while I was checking my email and thus left them out. The salsa was still fantastic. If you don’t want the bread or don’t have the time; go ahead and skip them this time.]
- Meanwhile, place minced shallots in a small bowl and cover with the vinegar. Let stand for at least 15 minutes. [There is a reason Alice Waters does this; it mellows the shallots’ bite and subtly pickles them. Don’t skip this step; make a time allowance for it.]
- In a separate bowl, stir together the oil, chopped herbs, minced capers and minced anchovies.
- Before serving, add the toasted bread crumbs and macerated shallots to the bowl of oil and herbs. Stir to combine.
This is my go-to recipe for cooked carrots. Roasting brings out the flavor and the method is hands-off so you can attend to other cooking matters (like searing expensive meat) and know your carrots are going to be just right.
- 6 large carrots, peeled (about a pound)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 T. chopped parsley
- 1 T. lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a baking dish, toss the carrots with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until tender.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and lemon zest.