Whether it’s a Monday night, or you’re entertaining friends over the weekend, it’s always the right time for a quickly prepared dinner of pan-seared lamb chops. Let the chops sit and marinate in olive oil and rosemary for half an hour or so while you’re tossing together an easy Greek salad and simmering potatoes to serve alongside as mashers. There is never the wrong time for a low-stress, restaurant-quality dinner at home. That’s what I like. You will, too.
Lamb Loin Chops with Rosemary Rub Recipe
4 lamb loin chops, about 1 lb total
Note: Mountain States Rosen provides a full selection of USDA Choice lamb products from Shepherd’s Pride Lamb that are antibiotic and hormone-free. Contact them for ordering. Lamb chops are also readily available in most larger grocery stores.
2 T grapeseed oil
2 T fresh rosemary, leaves stripped from stems, minced
Kosher salt and coarse pepper to taste
Rinse lamb chops and pat dry with towel. Place on clean plate.
Sprinkle chops with grapeseed oil. Massage gently with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Let sit, uncovered, for 30 minutes to one hour.
Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add lamb chops and sear on all sides until browned, with fat crisped, about 10-12 minutes total, and pink juices are beginning to pop up on top of chops. Insert meat thermometer to check for temperature. Lamb should register 145°F.
Note: The key to browning is let the meat be your guide. Don’t flip it over until the proteins are ready to release the chop from the pan. It should turn easily. Cooking times will vary, depending on your stove top.
Remove chops to clean plate. Cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Greek Salad Recipe
The staple of every Greek taverna, putting together a Greek salad is simple and quick. Chop up the basic ingredients, toss with excellent quality olive oil and red wine vinegar, and you’ll feel like you’re back on Santorini. Warm Mediterranean breezes, a hint of sea salt. And then there’s that volcano simmering just across the lagoon. Add red wine, and in no time you’ll feel like you’re on vacation, even when you’re at home. There’s no jet lag, either.
Salad greens, washed (I like what my grocery store calls a pre-washed Spring Mix, in the clamshell, but select what appeals most to you)
One handful of mixed mini peppers, red, yellow and orange (about 6), halved, seeds and white parts removed, diced
One cucumber, peeled and seeds removed, quartered and chopped
About 10 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
10 Kalamata olives, pits removed (or buy the jar without pits), halved
1/4 bermuda onion, sliced
1/3 cup Feta cheese crumbles
3 T extra virgin olive oil (this is the time to use your best!)
2 T red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Combine oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in small bowl. Whisk briskly to emulsify. Taste before applying. If it needs adjusting (olive oil or vinegar) do it. Let your taste buds be your guide.
Top salad greens with peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, onion, and feta cheese. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss gently. Serve alongside lamb chops or in separate bowls.
If you like, serve lamb chops with Creamy Mashed Potatoes.
Recipe serves 2 and can be easily expanded.
What wine to serve with dinner? Stephanie Davis of Winacea, a Certified Sommelier and Wine Educator, says that lamb and red wine are a classic marriage. You often hear sommeliers talk about lamb with Bordeaux, Zinfandel, and California Cabernet. In a tribute to Colorado’s Joseph Phelps, (1927-2015) the California wine legend, open a bottle of Insignia, the most prestigious bottle from Joseph Phelps. Insignia is a Bordeaux style blend of California grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. What a way to celebrate the life of a talented wine industry celebrity! The price tag is not for the faint of heart ($200+).
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, because living brings its own humor, angst and heroism. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @where she hopes you’ll find illumination of the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Vodka and recipes optional.