August 6th 2011
As a child, lamb chops were always singular and cremated under the grill. As a hungry person with a desire to eat lots of juicy meat, this was quite devastating. Lamb chops are so small, a single chop could be an appetiser and what is it with grills? Barbecued meat tastes good and so does meat done on a griddle – somehow though, overhead cooking dries meat out. Oddly the term “to grill” can encompass barbecuing, griddling and grilling, how confusing. Anyway, in my humble opinion, the only good use for a cooker’s grill is cheese on toast and a singular Lamb Chop, belongs to Shari Lewis!
On to spring lamb… I know, this is the middle of summer, but the lamb that we eat in spring, generally comes from New Zealand. British lamb, which was born last winter/spring, has grown up and is ready to eat now. This is reflected by a cheaper price at the butchers – mine is selling 3lb lamb chops for £12, which seems quite good value to me. The lamb chop itself contains part of a rib bone, succulent meat and some fat – don’t be put off by the fat on meat, it’s where the flavour comes from.
Lamb goes really well with rosemary and garlic, so I chop fresh rosemary leaves with 6 pieces of garlic and a little sea salt, which I press into one side of the chop, leaving some leftover for flavouring at the end.
Unless I’m barbecuing, I cook the chops fairly quickly in extra virgin olive oil. Lamb is good slightly pink, it doesn’t have to be cooked until the juices run clear.
Heat the oil until it’s nearly smoking. Put the chops in with the rosemary and garlic sides uppermost. Cook for 2 -3 minutes, until a few little droplets of blood show on the upper side of the meat and then turn it over. After another 2 -3 minutes, I stand the chops up on end, to cook the fat and make it crispy. The whole process should take no more than about 10 minutes.
Allow the chops to rest for 5 minutes and add the remaining garlic and rosemary to the pan, along with a splash of red wine vinegar, a glass of red wine and some cracked black pepper. Allow the alcohol to burn off and let the sauce thicken, stirring occasionally. Optionally, you could add a knob of butter to help with thickening and a little of your vegetable water for flavour.
Serve with new potatoes, and seasonal vegetables, such as, baby carrots, broad beans, peas, runner beans, etc.