Lamb Steaks with Mint Pesto
Most of us immediately think “basil” when pesto is mentioned. But these days, other fresh herbs increasingly take its place or are used in combination with basil. This version is made from fresh mint, and it supplies just the right fragrant accent for lamb steaks or chops, whether they’re broiled or grilled. Lamb steak, the choice here, is a cross-cut section from the leg of lamb and is an especially flavorful, meaty choice.
Pesto has a tendency to discolor when it’s exposed to air. So, to help keep that from happening, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on its surface to keep the air out. However, if the pesto does discolor, don’t worry; just give it a good stir before serving.
If you have any fresh parsley in the kitchen, add a couple of tablespoons of leaves when you’re making the pesto–its chlorophyll will help prevent discoloration.
To tell if the lamb is medium-rare, press the steak with your forefinger. If the steak feels slightly soft with just a bit of resilience, it is medium-rare. Cook the lamb longer, if you wish, of course.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturecheesy, herby, meaty, nutty, savory
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1½ cups packed fresh mint leaves (from one 6-ounce bunch)
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 lamb steaks, 9 ounces each and about 1 inch thick
With machine running, drop garlic clove through feed tube of food processor fitted with metal blade. Add mint, Parmesan, and pine nuts. Process until very finely chopped. With machine running, gradually add olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of pesto.
Preheat broiler with rack 4 inches from heat source. Lightly oil broiler rack. Season lamb steaks with salt and pepper to taste. Broil, turning once, until both sides are browned, about 6 minutes. They will be medium-rare.
Serve lamb steaks right away with a dollop of pesto on top of each.
Variations for Lamb Steaks with Mint Pesto
Substitute fresh basil for half of the mint, or use all basil. You can also use chopped walnuts or blanched almonds instead of the pine nuts.
If you wish, cook the lamb steaks on an outside barbecue grill over hot coals covered with white ash. For a gas grill, use the High setting to be sure you get a nice, brown crust on the meat. And be sure to oil the grill grate just before cooking.
Serving Suggestions for Lamb Steaks with Mint Pesto
Green beans, carrots, or Green Beans and Zucchini with Potatoes. If not serving the latter, serve orzo tossed with olive oil and crumbled goat cheese.
2005 Leslie Revsin