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.
These three recipes each cook six lamb chops in a searingly hot pan atop the stove. Simple enough, but they do it in three different ways for three terrific turns on lamb. When the recipe says “Cook the chops through,” it means grill the chops, which should be at room temperature, in a very hot cast iron skillet for three minutes on the first side, then two on the flip side. Film the skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil if it’s otherwise dry. (Internal temperature on the chops should be 140 degrees for medium-rare.)
Liar’s lamb chops: “Oh no, there’s no anchovy here.” No fishy flavor remains; just buckets of umami. They’ll be wowed and won’t know why. Sauté 3 teaspoons salt-cured capers, well rinsed, and 3 oil-preserved anchovy filets in 3 tablespoons olive oil until the filets break down, 2-3 minutes. Cook the chops through. Remove them to a board to rest and sauté 2 finely minced garlic cloves in the skillet. Top the chops with the sauce from the skillet.
Emerald Isles: Make a paste, in a mortar or food processor, of 2 peeled garlic cloves, the leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Rub the paste over the chops and let them rest to marinate, at room temperature, for 1 hour. Cook the chops through.
Greek to you: Marinate the chops overnight in a dressing of 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons oregano (Mediterranean preferred; Mexican OK), 1/4 cup lemon juice, the zest of 1/2 lemon, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt. (Make sure the marinade gets in and around all the chops.) Cook the chops through. Remove to a board to rest 5 minutes. You may make a sauce of any leftover marinade, a knob of butter and a few tablespoons of broth, red wine, juice or water. Scrape up any brown bits in the pan, reduce the liquid a bit and serve with the chops.