Lamb chops have the air of a special occasion dinner but are so easy to prepare that they readily lend themselves to a sophisticated midweek dinner. Serve with La Calera Malbec 2016.
Prep time 30 mins
Cook time 15 mins
1 cup packed basil
1 cup packed baby arugula
⅓ cup Marcona almonds
1 ½ cups finely grated Manchego
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon anchovy paste
½ cup olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Red Chili flake to taste (optional)
2 racks baby lamb chops, cleaned and frenched
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup grated manchego cheese
Salt and pepper
In a food processor, pulse together the basil, arugula, Marcona almonds, manchego, garlic cloves, salt and pepper, chili flake, lemon zest, lemon juice, and anchovy paste. Once the ingredients have been well chopped, begin to drizzle in olive oil while continuing to pulse. Set the pesto aside at room temperature for at least fifteen minutes for the flavors to meld. (This can be made up to two days in advance)
Cut each rack of lamb in half, creating four sections that have four lamb chops. Pat dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Place a heavy-bottomed skillet over high, coating the bottom with the olive oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, lay the lamb racks meat side down (you may need to do this in batches). Sear until brown and crisp, about three to four minutes, then flip and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the lamb reads medium rare. Move to a platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for five minutes.
Slice the racks into individual lamb chops and divide them between four plates. Drizzle generously with pesto and remaining manchego cheese. Serve immediately.
Suggested Wine Pairing: La Calera Malbec 2016
Allison Robicelli is a James Beard-nominated writer, cookbook author, humorist, chef/owner of the highly-acclaimed Robicelli’s Bakery, occasional TV personality, raconteur, wife, mother, and all-around good time.