No one does lamb chops better than the Italians and this recipe, which comes to me by way of the great Anna Del Conte, is a case in point. The nuggets of pink meat are so tender and flavorful, you just want to gnaw every morsel right off the bone.
I’d keep side dishes plain — maybe some steamed new potatoes and green beans or some such — as this needs no attention-seeking embellishment.
And I can’t tell you how heavenly they are, should you be lucky enough (and it’s unlikely) to have some left over, snatched cold straight from the fridge the day after.
- 12 lamb rib chops
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1 teaspoon chile flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- zest and juice of 1 small lemon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or ½ teaspoon table salt
- 15 black olives , pitted and sliced 2 tablespoons oil, for frying
- 1 long red chile, deseeded and finely chopped, optional
Layer the rib chops between plastic wrap and flatten them gently with a rolling pin or meat mallet. Place the chops in a large dish so that they all fit in a single layer.
Pour over the ¼ cup of oil and add the garlic, chile, oregano, and lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle over the salt and the olives and then turn the rib chops in the marinade so that both sides are coated.
Cover and leave the lamb to marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature before cooking.
Heat a large skillet with the 2 tablespoons of oil and add the chops, scraping off the marinade before you put them in the pan. Fry them for a couple of minutes a side on quite a high heat so that they take on some color.
Turn the heat back down to medium and pour the marinade into the pan over the colored chops. Add 2 tablespoons or so of water so that they cook in a little liquid. Cook for about 5 minutes for rare cutlets or a little longer if you like your lamb well cooked (this will also depend on the thickness of the chops).
Transfer the lamb to a serving plate, pour over the juices from the pan, and sprinkle with the chopped red chile should you feel like enhancing the dried chile with the pep of fresh.
Nutritional information is based on using 2.5lbs of lamb rib chops.