Occasionally I will post some photos online of a dish I've made, either for clients or for myself, that elicit responses on social media, from likes to Yum! to looks delicious to Please post a recipe for this dish, my mouth is watering! It is for this last response that I am starting a new series on my blog called "Recipe By Request" -- and I'm happy to announce that the first in this series is here.
I made this dish for some of my very best clients, this summer out in the Hamptons. It was a balmy evening, and the grill was calling to me (not hard to hear, considering how massive the grill was at the house!). I was in the mood for some savory Mediterranean cooking, so I made a series of dishes that paired grilled meats with cooling salads. The dish here -- lamb chops with a North African touch -- I served over a salad that tosses together parsley (I love using this herb like a salad green. It's so palate-cleansing and bright.) with sliced red onions, chick peas, and pomegranate arils. This salad would be at home in Morocco, but equally at home in Andalusia, Spain, or Italy, Provence, or Israel. I think it pairs really well with the smokiness and warm spices on the lamb chops, and matches the herbal notes in the rub as well. Tying everything together is a great-quality extra-virgin olive oil.
You don't have to grill these chops to make them at home -- you can use a grill pan or even just sear them in a hot frying pan (cast iron would be best), or even bake them. The important thing is to play with them, mix and match the ingredients in here to your personal taste. I guarantee you this dish, however modified, pared-down or amped-up, will be a favorite player in your arsenal of deceptively easy, flavorful dishes.
Cumin and Herb-Spiced Lamb Chops
Serves 8 people
With lamb chops, especially if they're being grilled, it's best to leave the fat on the bone instead of trimming it. This keeps the meat moist while cooking and adds flavor.
2 medium onions, peeled, quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves with clean, tender stems
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with clean, tender stems
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 small chili pepper with seeds (anything from jalapeno to bird's eye Thai chili), roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ras-el-hanout (North African spice mix)
24 untrimmed lamb rib chops (approximately 5 pounds)
- Place onions, garlic, cilantro, parsley, mint, cumin, paprika, chili pepper, ras-el-hanout, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a food processor until very finely chopped. This should make a flavor paste that is thick but easily spreadable.
- Place lamb in a large dish and rub with spice and herb mixture. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
- One hour before cooking, take the marinating lamb chops out of the fridge and bring to room temperature.
- Prepare grill for medium-high heat and oil grate.
- Grill lamb to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest at least 5 minutes before serving.
*Can be served with a salad of flat-leaf parsley, chick peas, sliced red onion, and pomegranate arils. Toss with extra-virgin olive oil and salt and line a platter with the salad. Place the lamb chops on top and it's a real show-stopper of a presentation!
NOTE: Lamb can be marinated 12 hours ahead. Keep chilled.