Morning everyone — it’s Monday again, can you believe it? April has just whizzed by. I’m in one of those roller-coaster periods where I haven’t stopped to take a breath. Luckily for today’s meal I’m escaping to the heart of France, where they’ve made it a point of pride to stop and smell the lavender. Every culture harbors a nugget or two of wisdom about food, and what I take from French country cooking is the courage to go ultra simple. Lemon, good olive oil, fresh thyme, sea salt. And a hot fire. The flavors are rich and juicy. The meat cooks for a mere 2 minutes per side. Dinner is ready in a flash, and it’s magnificent. I’ve been rereading Patricia Wells’ Cooking in Provence in bed all week, can you tell?
Lamb chops haven’t been on my radar much, I don’t know why. My mom made them all the time, but for some reason I’ve developed a cooking style that doesn’t focus on chops and roasts very often. But everything that goes around comes around, and I’m slowly finding myself tempted by these cuts again lately. You’ll want the small lamb chops for this dish, they are only about a 1/2 inch thick. The meat marinates for just 20 minutes, so after you’ve set the table and poured yourself a glass of Bordeaux it’s ready to hit the grill. If you serve these beautiful chops with couscous and a simple vegetable like I did, you’ll be amazed at how fast it all comes together.
I can already tell that my spring summer obsession is going to be grill marks. Since I don’t have an outdoor grill I use a good heavy pan on the stove and it works just fine. The key is letting it get nice and smoking hot before the food touches down. It not only looks enticing, it enhances the flavor of whatever you’re cooking. I even grilled the lemons.
- 4 lamb chops
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- fresh thyme
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- sea salt
- Put the lamb chops in a shallow dish and cover with 1/8 cup of oil, the lemon juice, and a couple of tablespoons of thyme leaves. Cover and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Turn the chops over a couple of times to allow all surfaces to marinate.
- Preheat a stove top grill pan on high heat for about 5 minutes. Lower the heat slightly and grill the chops for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Don't move them once you put them down so you will get nice grill marks. Grill the lemon alongside the chops.
- Serve right away sprinkled with sea salt and more fresh thyme leaves.
Recipe from At Home in Provence
Sprinkle a little sea salt on after cooking so it doesn’t draw out the precious juices before their time. Lamb is so flavorful, nothing else is needed. Serve it with couscous and steamed or roasted baby carrots, or asparagus for the ultimate spring dinner.
Here’s to Monday!