Monday, December 27, 2010

Grilled Lamb Chops

For the past few years, we've celebrated NYE in the comforts of home, mostly in pajamas. Rather than cooking up a big meal for dinner, we just graze all evening and into the night on appetizers and small bites. In fact, I prefer noshing all night than having a meal... it's more fun and casual. So with New Years Eve is just a few days away and it's when I start looking for recipes to make for the big night in. One recipe that's elegant and a perfect size for appetizers are Grilled Lamb Chops. Rubbed with garlic, rosemary, and thyme, these savory, meaty bites are a delicious way to ring in the new year...

Lamb can be a little gamey in flavor, but when seasoned and prepared well, it is much more approachable. Rosemary is one herb that goes extremely well with lamb. For these lamb chops, garlic, rosemary and thyme are combined to make a paste that infuses the lamb. After marinating for an hour, they're brought back to room temperature and grilled. The best part is that these come with a built in handle. The chops are small enough for a couple bites and made easy to enjoy with the bone as a handle. A word of caution - you'll want to double or triple this recipe because they get eaten up pretty quickly!

Grilled Lamb Chops
recipe adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 lamb chops, about 3/4-inch thick

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Pulse until combined. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and allow the chops to come to room temperature; it will take about 20 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes. Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium.