I don't cook with lamb chops often because they're expensive, but sometimes nothing else will hit the spot. Maybe it's something to do with spring and all the usual clichés about lamb this time of year. All I know is I found myself with a couple of gorgeous, deep-red "lamb T-bones" as they're sometimes called, the loin chops with a T-bone through the middle. They need nothing more than a sear on the grill or a trip under the hot broiler, seasoned with plenty of salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil.
Bean salads go particularly well with lamb, and I had a can in the cupboard. My go-to recipe is simple, just a few fresh herbs, fruity olive oil, and lemon juice, all heated through gently to preserve the flavor of the herbs and the character of the oil. This time I went to the bookshelf and pulled down Chez Panisse Vegetables, taking the secret to this recipe. It's crème fraîche: you add it to the beans and then raise the heat so that it reduces and clings to the beans, turning into a thick and creamy gloss. They are the creamiest beans I think I've ever eaten.
The herbs in this recipe make the dish, and it also doesn't matter which you use. I had some rosemary and basil in the fridge, so that's what ended up in this recipe.
Lamb Chops with Crème Fraîche Beans
Adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables.
About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.
- 1 to 2 lamb chops, depending on size
- Salt and pepper
- 1 can white or red beans, such as borlotti or cannelini
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/4 cup crème fraîche
- 6 to 8 basil leaves, chopped
Rub the lamb chops with plenty of salt, pepper, and olive oil. Turn on a broiler, grill, or heat up a grill pan. Once it is very hot, grill the lamb chops until desired doneness, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
In the meantime, drain and rinse the beans and add them to a skillet with the olive oil, rosemary, garlic, and a few tablespoons of water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the water evaporates and the beans are soft. Add the crème fraîche and turn the heat to high. Cook until the beans are coated and creamy, then stir in the basil off the heat, reserving a little for garnish.
Serve the lamb chops on the beans and garnish with the reserved basil leaves and freshly ground black pepper.