Give ham a break this Easter – try lamb chops

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter can be an enjoyable time for the family and for the taste buds.

Easter can be an enjoyable time for the family and for the taste buds.

Easter is early this year. All these special events seem to sneak up on you. I usually do some egg recipes or Easter but decided to do a nice and easy Easter Brunch this year. I found the perfect one in the new issue of ‘The Food Network Magazine.’ It uses lamb chops not the pricey leg of lamb. I did the entire menu last evening to see how it goes and the beauty of the recipes stem from the fact that you can cook the carrots and the tomatoes at the same time. You can prep the potatoes and stick them in the oven after cooking the carrots and tomatoes. The only thing left is the lamb, which is cooked for a few minutes. Simple and tasty!

Enjoy this beautiful time of year and Happy Easter!

From ‘The Food Network Magazine’ April 2013.

Lamb Chops with

Tomato-Mint Jam

Serves 6-8

1cup chopped fresh mint

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic (1 minced, 1 whole)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

8 center-cut lamb loin chops (about 8 ounces each and 1 ½ inches thick)

1 pound cocktail tomatoes

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or lemon juice

¾ teaspoon sugar

Combine ¾ cup mint, the panko, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl. Add the minced garlic, 1 teaspoon rosemary, the red pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon salt and mix until combined.

Unroll the “tail” of each lamb chop (the long thin section folded around the chop). Season the lamb with salt, then press the crumb mixture under the tail section; roll up the tail around the filling and secure with kitchen twine. Put the chops on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate two to four hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the lamb chops from the refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking.

Make the tomato-mint jam: Toss the tomatoes, whole garlic clove, 1 tablespoon olive oil and the remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast until the tomatoes are slightly charred, 15-20 minutes; let cool slightly, then transfer to a medium bowl. Add the vinegar and sugar and mash with a fork until somewhat smooth. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup mint and season with salt.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil; sear the lamb chops until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Using tongs, turn the chops onto their sides and sear until the fat browns, about two minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet; roast in the oven until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 140 degrees for medium rate, about 10 minutes. Let rest five minutes; remove the twine and serve with the tomato-mint jam.


Roasted Rainbow


Toss three bunches baby rainbow carrots, 1 tablespoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon kosher salt on a baking sheet; arrange in a single layer. Roast at 450 degrees, turning once, until tender and slightly browned, 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and chopped chives. (I found rainbow carrots at Whole Foods for a bit more color).


Garlic Potato Gratin

Serves 4-8

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 small onion, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus a few sprigs

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ cup dry white wine

½ cup breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced about ¼ inch thick

1 ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about three minutes. Add the garlic, chopped thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and onion are slightly golden, about five minutes. Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated, about two minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, chives, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl; reserve 2 tablespoons for the topping.

Arrange one-third of the potatoes over the onion in the skillet. Sprinkle with half of the remaining crumb mixture; top with another layer of potatoes. Repeat with another layer of the crumb mixture and potatoes. Pour the broth on top. Cover, bring to a boil and cook, undisturbed, five minutes.

Uncover, sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Transfer the skillet to the oven; bake until the potatoes are golden brown and crisp on top, about 45 minutes. Let rest five to 10 minutes before serving.