Spring is here, and nothing symbolizes this more than lamb. You either love it or hate it, and I am a lover. Sometimes I find it hard to reconcile the fact that I am eating that cute, furry animal, but then my taste buds take over, and I go into denial. I haven’t eaten veal since I was a child and saw the small cage they kept those baby beef in at the county fair, yet I still persist in my love of lamb.
When I was an chef instructor in a culinary school, in one of the classes we had to break down an entire side of lamb into primal cuts. One of my students was a vegan, and she almost passed out during the demonstration. Needless to say, I excused her for the day. I understood her pain, but I was still looking forward to eating that lamb.
As my toddler devoured her Easter dinner, I kept encouraging her to eat her lamb. Then I remembered that her Godparents had given her a stuffed lamb for Easter, and wondered if she was putting two and two together. Pink fuzzy lamb = tasty slices of meat in my mouth. Hmmmm….nah, she’s only two!
I marinated some lamb loin chops in a fresh herb rub I made from herbs from my neighbor’s garden. The loin is a very tender cut, and care should be taken to not overcook them.
Fresh Herb Rub
2 TB chopped garlic, about 6 large cloves
1 TB chopped fresh oregano
1 TB chopped fresh rosemary
1 TB fine lemon zest (I use a microplane zester)
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients. Stir well, to distribute the salt. The rub can be made a 2 days ahead of use. I would suggest rubbing your meat with this marinade at least 6 hours, and up to 24 hours before cooking. The longer it marinates, the better. I marinated my loin chops for 48 hours, which ensured the flavor was absorbed completely.
I decided to broil the loin chops, but I would also suggest grilling. I place the chops on my trusty, crusty broiler pan which I had pre-heated in the broiler for a few minutes.
Broil the chops for 5 minutes, then turn over. Cook an additional 4-5 minutes, until lamb is rare. If you don’t like rare meat, cook an additional minute or two. Let the chops rest for a moment to reabsorb their juices.
If you are not a lamb lover, the herb rub can be used with chicken, turkey or pork. It will also be good tossed with potatoes before you roast them.