Lamb Chops with Herb Sauce
I'm not a steak-eater but I am a big fan of chimichurri sauce. The first time I tried it was at an Argentinian restaurant. The herbs and the vinegar were a perfect relief from the rich cut of pork I was eating. The only thing I didn't like was the oil. So, I did some reading into the main ingredients in the sauce and created this lighter version, that has the consistency of a dip and uses a tiny amount of oil. I won't offend the good people of Argentina by calling this a chimichurri, so let's just call it a herb sauce. The star ingredient is the red wine vinegar; it really cuts anything rich for a balanced bite. If you make a bigger batch of herb sauce, it's perfect as a spread of sandwiches, an addition to meaty tacos, and as a marinade on chicken or a hearty fish like salmon.
The sauce is perfect with lamb, which is rich and decadent. I love a traditional lamb curry but I've also gotten into the simplicity of a perfectly cooked lamb chop, paired with this herb sauce. My spice rub below features some standard Indian and Mediterranean spices; you can keep it simple with salt and pepper but I'm a big fan of these flavors with lamb. Cooking lamb chops is a bit intimidating but as you'll see in my recipe below, it's surprisingly quick and simple. The one thing that takes practice is rendering the fat (a little bit of white fat still left on my lamb in photo). I trim the fat before cooking, as much as I can, and make sure to sear it on a hot stainless steel pan to render.
Serve this with some mashed potatoes or some farro with roasted vegetables and you will win any dinner party.
For the lamb
- 4 lamb chops
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
- 2 tsp olive oil
For the Sauce
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 10 large sprigs of parsley and cilantro, leaves only (about 2 cups, packed)
- 1/8 red onion or 1/2 shallot
- 1/2 Fresno chili, seeds removed
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Pat dry your lamb chops to remove any moisture. Season with the salt, coriander, cumin, clove, and cayenne pepper. Rub the spices in well and set aside.
- Heat a stainless steel or cast iron pan until it's very hot. Add the oil - once the oil starts to smoke a bit, your pan is ready.
- Add the lamb chops in and cook the first side for 3.5 to 4 mins. Flip the chops over and cook the second side for another 3.5 to 4 mins. Flip onto the fat side and cook for 1 min.
- Put the pan in the preheated oven and cook for a final 8 mins. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for at least 5 mins.
- While the meat rests, take all the ingredients for the sauce and blend into a smooth paste.
- Serve the lamb and sauce!