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Grilled Lamb Chops with Salsa Verde

Lamb Chops with Salsa Verde

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Makes 8 large portions.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a recipe found in a restaurant trade journal.

Seared on a grill and cooked to a perfect internal temperature, these lamb chops are delicious. Add a savory green herb salsa and you have a lamb dinner that is as superb as any in the best restaurants. And why not? The recipe was created by an accomplished recipe chef.

Ingredients:

2 racks of lamb, 16 ribs; room temperature
Safflower oil (or other oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut oil) for the grill/griddle
For the Herb Salsa Verde:
2 medium cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
4 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon capers; rinsed
6 black olives; pitted (Calamata okay, or any you like)
12 parsley sprigs; leaves only
3 to 4 sprigs basil; leaves only
2 tablespoons Marsala
½ cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Let the lamb racks come up to room temperature. They’ll shrink less when grilled.

Make the Salsa Verde first. Mash the garlic with the salt using a mortar and pestle or in a small food processor until it is reduced to a paste. Add the anchovies, capers, and olive oil. Mash to a paste. Add parsley and basil and crush to a coarse texture. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the Marsala. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking constantly (like making a vinaigrette). Cover and refrigerate until needed.

French the racks if not already frenched and cut into double chops (2 ribs per chop) by cutting between the ribs all the way to the back and separate. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Brush the grill with safflower oil (or other high smoke point oil) and then heat over two burners set at medium flame. Heat for 5 minutes, or until the oil just begins to smoke. Place the lamb chops on the grill and raise the flames to medium-high. Sear without moving them for 2½ to 3 minutes, then turn 90 degrees to add crossing bar marks and sear for another 2 minutes. Turn to sear the fat layer along one edge, cooking about 2 minutes, and then turn over. Reduce the heat to medium again and check often with a meat thermometer to cook to the desired level of doneness. I prefer medium rare; therefore, I cook to an internal temperature of 140 to 150°F (60 to 66°C).

Remove from heat and allow to rest 5 minutes. Spoon some of the salsa verde onto plates and place a chop on top. Serve immediately with fried potatoes or other vegetables in a separate dish. Additional salsa verde can be placed on the table for garnishing the chops (but let them see the bar marks first).