As weird as it is, Spring seems to be upon us in western NY. With temperatures in the 60's and 70's this past week and daylight savings time giving us an extra hour of light at the end of the day, I've spent most of my evenings outside with my grill.
My grill and I have a special relationship. Without it, I may never have begun cooking! It has inspired more creativity and healthy meals than any other cooking method combined, and there's nothing better than throwing some food on the grill and hoping for the best. It is also a million years old, tiny, and rusting through. This amounts to the most uneven cooking surface I've ever worked with. Food must constantly be rotated from the middle (surface of the sun hot) to the outer edges (untouched by heat), to facilitate even cooking. It's a dance of love, and if I neglect it and walk away for a few minutes, I've scorched another meal.
That first taste of grilled meat after a long winter cooped up indoors is like manna from heaven. It doesn't matter what kind of meat it is, or even how well-cooked it is. As long as it has that delicious smoky flavor that only comes from being cooked over an open flame, nothing tastes better. I broke my winter fast with some pork chops last week, but if you haven't uncovered your grill yet this season, might I recommend some delicious lamb chops?
Lambs represents springtime, and when perfectly seared on the grill and rubbed with a citrusy herb mixture, you feel like you're biting into the end of winter. So hang up those heavy coats, put away your ugg boots, and dust off your grill! Let's enjoy the weather while we can, before it snows again.
You will need:
(Recipe was for 1 person, but we stretched it out to feed three people by adding more vegetables, meat, and a side of rice)
- 1 small russet or baking potato
- 1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
- 1 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
- kosher salt and ground black pepper
- zest of 1 orange (we used a tangerine!)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
- 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped (we used 3, obviously)
- 3 loin lamb chops
Place potato in pot over high heat. Bring water to a boil and cook 25 minutes, or until potato is fork-tender. When it's cool enough to handle, cut lengthwise into 4 slices.
Brush potato wedges, zucchini, and yellow squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Preheat grill to high heat.
In a small bowl, combine orange (tangerine) zest, rosemary, garlic, and salt; set aside. Season lamb chops with salt and pepper and grill one side 3-5 minutes for medium-rare to medium.
Turn chops over and place half the citrus mixture on top. Cook another 3-5 minutes, flip over, and transfer to a plate. Cover with aluminum foil while you cook the veggies for 7 minutes, turning over as needed (or if your grill is big enough, you can cook the meat and veggies at the same time).
Top with remaining orange mixture and serve!
Lamb is not cheap, but if you want to treat yourself this spring, this recipe is a sure bet. Be careful to cook the chops well; ours were a perfect medium rare, the rich, sultry flavor of the meat perfectly complimenting the bright citrusy topping. The grilled vegetables are simple and have a nice consistency to round out this incredible meal.
It's nice to splurge every once in awhile and buy some choice meat. It can be a little nerve-wracking for a new cook to experiment with expensive ingredients, because the little voice in your head won't let you forget that if you scorch the meat or drop it on the ground, you've thrown away a lot of money. But if you don't take risks you'll never get to experience new and exciting dishes, let alone grow as a cook. So fork over that credit card and buy some lamb chops. After all, it is spring time!
Recipe from O, the Oprah Magazine Cookbook.