|Pan/Oven Grilled Lamb Chops|
Apr 6th, 2005
(*At the time I wrote this I had given myself a challenge to cook at least one new recipe out of each of my 100+ cookbooks. I've since realized my folly and dropped the endeavor.*)
Lamb chops have always seemed incredibly cosmopolitan to me. I have no idea why, but if you say the word lamp chop to me I immediately envision a young, attractive, childless couple coming home to their loft at the end of a day spent slaving at some law firm or software company. One of them has a shopping bag (reusable mesh of course) in one hand which holds two lamb chops, a bottle of tasteful semi-expensive wine, and most likely the makings of an arugula salad. They throw the lamp chops on their expensive grill stationed on the patio overlooking Lake Union, toss a sophisticated salad, and drink a glass or two of wine while listening to some fabulous cd. They probably fly to Paris the next day.
Like I said, I have absolutely no idea where I'm getting this image, but it's pretty firmly implanted in my brain. Add this to the fact that I like lamb and no-one else in my household does along with my lack of a fabulous patio with grill and you'll understand why I usually flip sadly past any lamb chop recipe I see. But for some reason when I stopped at the store on my way home Friday night to stock up on the decidedly non-cosmopolitan staples of milk, bread, and bacon, I saw a little pack of lamb chops and threw them in my cart. Jim claimed he and the boys wanted pancakes and bacon for dinner. An idea bloomed, lamb chops for one! But I still had no grill and lamb chop recipes always call for the grill. I don't even have a functioning broiler. Luckily Mark Bittman saved the day with his instructions on how to approximate a grill using your stovetop and oven.
I couldn't decide how I wanted to fix the chops, so I prepared each one a different way: a traditional parsley, garlic, lemon rub for one (with a little mint and sea salt thrown in), and a za'atar spice rub for the other. Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend consisting mainly of thyme, sumac, and paprika. Sadly for me, the traditional rub was much better, but the za'atar did show some promise. I think I'll try it again with the addition of a little sea salt and cumin. You can never go wrong with cumin.
I waffled on whether to include this as my official challenge entry for How to Cook Everything, after all I didn't really get the recipe from the book, just the cooking method. What finally decided me was the fact that I cook from this book all the time, whenever I need some sort of basic pancake, roast, or cookie recipe, so I really don't need a challenge excuse to pick up this book. The Pan/Oven grilling method will do just fine.
How to Pan/Oven "Grill" a Steak or Lamb Chop
Prepare your meat and let it sit in its marinade or spice rub. Place an oven rack on the very bottom rung and preheat the oven to its highest non-broil setting, 500F in my case. Heat an oven-proof skillet (I had no idea whether mine was or wasn't, luckily it survived its trial by fire) on the stove-top over medium high heat. Heat the pan until really hot, smoking a bit really. Sprinkle some coarse salt over the pan and drop in your chops. Immediately put the skillet on the bottom rung of your oven. Cook for about 3 minutes a side, more if your chops are very thick. There will be some smoke generated, so you might want to crack a window. The meat will come out all charry and crusty on the outside, medium-rare on the inside. Yum.