When grocery shopping for weeknight meals at home, I have to admit, I stick pretty exclusively to whole chicken and pork tenderloin. They're easy to prepare; usually I season these proteins simply and throw them into the oven. The results are always consistent and, after a busy day, I like this guaranteed result. Plus, all I need to do is set the timer and enjoy an evening cocktail while the minutes elapse.
When it comes to thinking up ingredient combinations for this column, however, I like to think outside my comfort zone and look for items that don't usually work themselves to the dinner table on say, a Wednesday. Enter lamb chops. They're easy to cook, in case you tend to pass them over at the butcher's over time concerns, and so incredibly flavorful it'll be a perfect break from your staples.
In this sandwich, the heady, rather pungent red meat combines with a bright gremolata made up of finely grated orange zest, fresh oregano, thyme, rosemary, and a generous amount of garlic. To mellow the garlic without taking away its potency, I "poach" it in oil—a great trick , and it takes under one minute in the microwave.
This is an open-faced sandwich with a hearty, chewy ciabatta loaf as the base. Two slices seemed to overwhelm what turns out to be a swanky sandwich that also includes a kick of spicy mustard and slivers of nutty, sharp sheep's milk cheese.
- Yield:Makes 4 sandwiches
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:30 minutes
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest from 2 oranges
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 boneless lamb shoulder chops (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
- Four 1/2-inch thick slices ciabatta bread
- 4 teaspoons Dijon or spicy mustard
- 3 ounces firm sheep’s milk cheese (such as Pyrenees Basque), thinly sliced
Combine 5 tablespoons olive oil and garlic in small bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds. Stir in zest, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium high heat until just beginning to smoke. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Cook lamb, flipping occasionally, until well browned and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center registers 125°F for medium rare.
Transfer to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Slice thinly on a bias into 1/4-inch thick slices.
Adjust oven rack to uppermost position and preheat oven to high broil. Place ciabatta directly on oven rack and broil just until golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to cutting board. Brush slices with mustard and top with cheese. Top cheese with lamb and herb/zest mixture. Serve immediately.