Sauces for Lamb

by Bill St. John

When it’s about accompaniments to lamb, you may flush a foodie snob from the culinary bush by shooting out the words “mint jelly.” But, I believe, merely in this country. That fits, of course, because America sports the highest quotient of foodie snobs among countries that eat food.

In other places, especially Britain, India and Greece (that is to say, in many countries that have been eating for longer than we have), where lamb is consumed much more heartily and regularly than here, cooks welcome, even require, sauces or accompaniments using mint — including but not limited to mint jelly.

Cue suggested sauces from these countries for your Marczyk-sourced Niman Ranch lamb loin chops (F&F $19.99/lb (reg. $22.99), good through Sunday 6/10). In order to allow their flavors to blend and develop, let each of these sauces sit for at least 1/2 hour before serving.

From Britain’s super-channel, the BBC: Strip off the leaves from 1 small bunch of mint, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and chop finely. Place in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon sugar and 4 tablespoons boiling water; stir to mix and dissolve sugar, then add 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar (or rice vinegar).

From India: To 1 cup plain yogurt, add 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves; 2 finely minced cloves garlic; 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice; 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder; 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder; and salt and pepper to taste. 

From Greece: To 1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt, add 6 scallions, chopped (mostly white but some green parts); 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves; 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil; 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves; 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon dried); 1 smashed garlic clove; and salt and pepper to taste.