I’m a huge fan of a simple dish that still has the ability to get my guests to “Oooh” and “Ahhh” as though I’d slaved over it for days, rather than whipped it out in a few minutes. This is one of those dishes. Utterly simple in preparation but a great wow factor, especially for my friends who may not deal with lamb regularly.
Another great thing about this dish is the price. I used lamb shoulder chops for this dish which cost less than half of what a loin chop or another high-end cut would cost. Like most lesser desired cuts, these chops have more flavor for less money and sacrifice nothing except tat “lollipop” effect you’d get with bone-in center cut chops.
Lamb and potatoes are the perfect partners in this dish. The potatoes are also simple, easy to prepare with just a little forethought and make a nice impression on the plate. For a full course meal, go with a light citrus salad as a starter and finish with a light lime sorbet. A perfect meal all the way ’round.
Yield: 2 servings
Herb Crusted Lamb Chops with Potato Medallions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
4 lamb shoulder chops (approximately 5 oz each)
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
1/2 bunch cilantro
3 cloves garlic
7-8 fresh thyme sprigs
The juice of 1 lime
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4-6 Yukon gold potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Clean and prick the skins of the potatoes. Place in a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Add 3 good pinches of salt. Place on stove over medium high heat until water boils. Boil for 10 minutes and drain in a colander under cold running water. Set aside.
Place parsley, cilantro, garlic the leaves of 1/2 the thyme and lime in a food processor. Pulse until a thick paste is formed, scraping sides of bowl often. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds fresh black pepper. Turn speed to low and drizzle in alive oil until herbs form a thick liquid. Set aside.
Season lamb with salt and pepper. Place in a large skillet with 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Sear both sides of lamb well, remove from heat. Transfer lamb to a baking sheet and spread herb mixture evenly over each chop. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes for medium rare or 9 minutes for medium. Remove from heat and cover loosely with foil. Allow to rest at least 5 minutes.
Slice potatoes into thin medallions with a very sharp knife to avoid tearing the skin. heat the same pan lamb was seared in over medium-high heat, adding a bit more olive oil if necessary. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper and place in skillet with remaining thyme sprigs. Cook, turning one, until both sides are browned (about 2 1/2 minutes per side.) Discard thyme. Serve with rested lamb.
What I would have done Differently had I thought of it at the time:
The first time I made this dish I failed to par-boil the potatoes and the result was pretty disastrous. (imagine burnt thyme flavored potatoes.) Par-cooking makes for a quick and simple side that can be prepped the day before and refrigerated if necessary, so it’s perfect for entertaining.