When I was growing up, fried chicken, braised pork chops with onions, smothered cubed steaks, meatloaf with mushrooms, and the occasional steak were the staples of my mother’s weeknight repertoire. Lamb never made an appearance at our Southern table. Only later when I spent my junior year of college studying in Paris, did I discover the glories of lamb. I savored it in stews like the springtime lamb Navarin, tasted my first leg of lamb roasted to a perfect rosy hue, and admired stately racks of lamb.
Those memories stayed with me so that lamb, especially chops, are among the essentials of my own weeknight meals. Recently, when a local supermarket had a special on chops I placed a package in my cart. The quick and easy recipe I had in mind for them required only three easy steps.
First you marinate the chops in olive oil and lemon juice along with spicy Moroccan accents of cumin, paprika, parsley, and cilantro. Then you cook them over a grill or on a stove top grill pan, and serve them with a quick accompaniment of purchased mayo scented with harissa and spices. The lamb needs 45 minutes to marinate, which allows plenty of time for assembling the flavorful sauce. Then all that is necessary is to cook the chops until they are pink inside, under 10 minutes. Fast and fresh—my kind of weeknight cooking!
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Spicy Lamb Chops with Harissa Mayo
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 rib lamb chops about 3 oz each (Frenched or trimmed of fat along the bone if desired)
Harissa Mayo (recipe follows)
1. For the lamb, in a shallow medium nonreactive dish, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, paprika, and salt. Add the lamb chops and turn several times to coat well. Marinate 45 minutes at room temperature or up to 6 hours in the fridge.)
2. To grill, remove the lamb from the marinade. Oil a grill rack and arrange it 4 to 5 inches from the heat source Prepare the grill for a hot fire. Or use a stove top grill pan or heavy skillet set over medium high heat. Grill the chops about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until charred on the outside and rosy pink inside. Use a small sharp knife to make a slit in the chops to see how done they are.
3. To serve, top each chop with a dollop of the Harissa Mayo and if desired, sprinkle chops with some cilantro. Serves 2 with 4 chops each or 4 with 2 chops each
1/2 cup good quality purchased mayonnaise (such as Hellman’s)
Generous 1 tsp Harissa
2 tsp lemon juice
1 /2 tsp ground cumin
1 /2 tsp ground coriander
4 tsp chopped cilantro plus extra for garnish if desired
1. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the harissa, lemon juice, cumin, coriander and cilantro until well blended. Spoon the mayo into a serving bowl. Makes about 1 /2 cup.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2018