Following a brief trip to London, we made our way to Paris and settled in the apartment we rent. After eating out for several days across the Channel, I couldn’t wait to go to the nearby markets and buy the makings for a simple supper. I decided on lamb chops marinated in a spicy mix of harissa, lemon juice, and olive oil along with fresh herbal accents of mint and cilantro. As a garnish for the lamb, I reserved some of this marinade as a dressing for cherry tomatoes and chickpeas.
Harissa, a North African condiment made with hot red peppers, garlic, and spices, is available throughout France. At home in the States, you can find it at few groceries, but your best option might be to order it from Amazon. Although I’ve seen it in jars, I prefer the harissa paste sold in tubes like the one here.
Nothing could have been simpler to cook in my petite Parisian kitchen than this colorful main course that was served atop saffron-scented rice. Count on 15 minutes to assemble the marinade and about 10 for grilling the chops. Et voilà! You’ll have a beautiful and delicious summer supper.
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Grilled Lamb Chops with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Mint
6 tbsp lemon juice
4 tsp harissa (See note above.)
1/4 cup olive oil plus extra for oiling the grill
4 tbsp chopped mint
4 tsp chopped cilantro
8 loin lamb chops each about 1-inch thick and 5 to 6 ounces
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
One lemon cut into 8 wedges for garnish
1. In a shallow, nonreactive pan, whisk together the lemon juice, harissa, 1 teaspoon salt, and olive oil. Whisk in half of the mint and half of the cilantro. Remove 3 tablespoons of this mixture to a medium nonreactive bowl and reserve. Add the lamb chops to the shallow pan and turn and coat well in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.
2.Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes, and chickpeas in the bowl with the reserved marinade. Marinate 1 hour at room temperature.
3. To cook chops, oil a grill rack lightly and place about 5 inches from heat source. When grill is ready, add chops and grill 3 to 4 or more minutes per side, until rosy pink inside. Cooking time can vary depending on intensity of heat and thickness of meat, so watch carefully. (You can also cook the chops on a stovetop grill pan or in a skillet set over medium high heat.)
4.Remove the chops to a serving platter and season with salt. Spoon the tomato and chickpea mixture over the chops and sprinkle with remaining mint and cilantro. Garnish the platter with lemon wedges. Serves 4 with two chops each.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2016