I have to admit that Easter isn’t such a big deal in my house any more, but growing up it was the best. Decorating and then finding eggs, baskets of candy – what’s not to like for a child? But if I were to do an Easter dinner, I’d probably serve something traditional like these (gluten free!) lamb chops. I don’t cook or eat lamb often, but I’ve acquired a taste for it in recent years and occasionally splurge at my local butcher. I marinated the lamb in mustard, lemon and rosemary but they’d be just as good just seasoned with some salt and pepper and grilled.
While mint jelly is the standard pairing, I decided to freshen things up with a mint gremolata (call it a chimichurri or salsa verde if you prefer – it isn’t exactly any of them). It’s simply lots of mint with some olive oil and lemon juice and actually ends up with quite a nutty, pesto-like flavor despite the lack of cheese or pine nuts. For a healthy side I served lentil salad tossed with more herbs, tomato, and cucumber. Feta is a nice addition as well. The salad can be served warm or cold and is great the next day for lunch.
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 pounds (1 kg) lamb chops
- 1 cup brown or green lentils, rinsed
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
- 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (mint, cilantro, and/or parsley)
- Â½ cup chopped tomato
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 4 cups fresh mint
- Â¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- Whisk together the rosemary, mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Smear the marinade over both sides of the lamb chops and set aside while the lentils cook.
- When ready, heat a large pan, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat with a little olive oil. Add the lamb chops, working in batches. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, until nicely browned on the outside and fully cooked (I like medium-rare) on the inside.
- Transfer to a plate or cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Put the lentils and bay leaf in a pot and cover with about 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat slightly, and cook, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside.
- Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Set aside until ready to serve, or cover and refrigerate for up to a day.
- Spoon lentil salad on each plate and top with a lamb chop and dollop of mint gremolata. Serve immediately.
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