Friday, March 4, 2011

Rosemary, Garlic, Caper Rubbed Lamb Chops

I think that a 7th grade class took a field trip to the Postal Square Museum downstairs in my building yesterday because around noon it smelled like someone detonated a major stink bomb in our office. The really stinky, old rotten egg kind. Mark and Bob were at my cube within minutes of the detonation with gas masks so that we could crawl to safety. Ok, I exaggerate...a little. But it was a good excuse to get out of the office and take a field trip to my favorite grocery store in DC: The gigantic Harris Teeter and Constitution Square. While there, we found the most beautiful shoulder lamb chops and they were on major, major sale. I had to have them. Only problem is, Those thin chops really do need at least an hour or two in a marinade to tenderize them or else you will end up with a pretty gamey dinner. I didn't have time for all that, so I made due with what I had, which are things that I almost always have on hand. Garlic, capers, green onions, and rosemary. I blended them together with oil in my magic bullet until they formed a thick paste and I rubbed that into the chops. Then I seared them in a pan until just medium rare. The salt, briny, deeply garlicky rub developed such complex flavors when they were seared that went beautifully with the lamb. If you are on the fence about trying lamb, this is a good way to test the waters. I also think this would work great as a rub on a rack or leg of lamb.
Rosemary, Garlic, and Caper Rubbed Lamb Chops
3 lamb shoulders chops (1/2 inch thick)
3 plump garlic cloves
1 tsp. capers
1/2 tsp. rosemary leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
2 scallions (whites parts only)
1/2 tsp. water from capers
3-4 Tbs. olive oil

1. Combine all ingredients (except lamb) into the bowl of your magic bullet or food processor.
2. Blitz until it forms a chunky paste. I probably added 2 Tbs. oil at first and then blitzed and needed to add more. This works best because then you get just enough oil to make a good paste without getting too liquefied.
3. Since there is lots of salt in the paste, you just need to set out your lamb chops on a cutting board or plate.
4. Heat about 1 Tbs. olive oil in a large frying pan on high heat.
5. Rub half of the paste all over the top of the lamb chops. When the pan is hot, lay them paste-side-down on the pan. Then Use a spoon to scoop the rest of the paste onto the other side of the lamb and spread it around.
6. Cook the lamb on high heat for 4-5 minutes per side which should be just right for medium rare.
7. Remove the lamb from the pan. If you want to deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup dry white wine and add 1 Tbs. butter, that makes a very nice sauce for the lamb.
I served the lamb with a whole wheat cous cous salad with feta, pickled onions, and the greens from the two scallions earlier and some sauteed spinach.
If that doesn't make you hungry, I don't know what will!

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