Monday, June 14, 2010

Lamb Chops with Pistachio Tapenade

If you make one new recipe this summer, may I offer this recipe up? Things that drew me to this recipe like moths to a flame:
1. The title - "Tapenade" just sounds so fancy. And, pair them with olives and pistachios, and it's a flavor concept that just makes my mouth water!
2. The inspiration - I recently discovered Anne Burrell and her show "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef." She makes some fantastic dishes that are surprisingly accessible to the amateur chef!
3. The variety - This recipe is not something I would normally make. It's nice to branch out!

I couldn't find any lamb chops I liked at the store, so I got some butterflied pork chops. They were great! I think chicken, pork, or lamb would be fine in this recipe. I used an extra-large clove of garlic, and when I make it again, I'm going to cut back on it. The tapenade was bordering on a little too much raw garlic flavor.

It tasted fantastic!!! It looked and tasted like something I would get at a "date night" restaurant!! Scott is neither an olive nor a pistachio person, and he gobbled his chop up! He said he really liked the "paste" on top. Paste? Paste! This is a fancy dinner, mister! It's called "tapenade!" :)

Lamb Chops with Pistachio Tapenade
Posted on Smitten Kitchen
Barely tweaked from Anne Burrell

1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and toasted
1/2 cup pitted green olives
2 tablespoons capers
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon freshly chopped oregano leaves
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, zested
1 (8-rib) rack of lamb or 6 lamb chops
Freshly ground black pepper

To make the pistachio tapenade:
In a food processor combine the pistachios, olives, capers, garlic, herbs and puree. While the machine is running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until the mixture becomes a paste. Add the zest and pulse 1 more time, drizzling in more oil if necessary. Reserve until ready to use.

If using a rack of ribs:
Remove 2 rib bones from the 8 rib rack to make it a 6-rib rack. Counting from either end, remove the 2nd and 7th bones; this will create 6 even chops that are thicker than a normal lamb chop. Cut 6 even chops.

Cook your chops:
Season your six lamb chops generously on either side with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Allow them to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a large saute pan generously with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the lamb chops and cook for about 2 minutes on each side to brown. If the pan begins to smoke, lower the heat. The chops should be beautifully caramelized on both sides. Remove the chops to a sheet pan and schmear generously with the pistachio tapenade. Place in preheated oven and cook another 4 to 5 minutes for medium rare. Remove chops from oven and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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