Growing up in Indiana, I was basically required by law to eat my fair share of sweet summer corn. Not that I'm complaining—there are few vegetables that I look as forward to devouring during this time of year. Thing is, almost all of it was eaten straight off the cob, with only butter and salt needed to complete the side dish. There may be no fundamentally better way to enjoy sweet corn, but it's certainly not the only one. As I've found recently, corn can add its distinct pop to all kinds of salads. That's definitely the case here, where the kernels are paired with apple cider vinegar, sugar, red onion and mint.
To play off the light and crunchy salad, I need something on the opposite side of spectrum. What better than a funky, gamey bite of lamb? I don't often cook the meat because it can get expensive, but I do have a soft spot for little lamb chops, even if I need two for a full meal. To amp up the flavor, I sprinkled on an Indian-inspired rub made with loads of garam masala and cayenne. The complex spice and heat further help the meat to play off the corn salad.
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cups fresh corn kernels, from about 4 ears corn
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 8 small lamb chops
Combine vinegar, sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Add red onion and mint and stir well. Set aside.
Melt butter in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until kernels are very hot but not browned. Transfer corn to the large bowl with red onion, and toss until everything is evenly coated. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stir together garam masala, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 2 teaspoons salt in a small bowl. Rub lamb chops with 1 tablespoon canola oil. Sprinkle chops on both sides with the spice mixture, and then use your hands to rub the mixture in.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until just starting to smoke. Add as many of the lamb chops as will fit in one layer. Cook until browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and set aside. Repeat process with any remaining chops.
Divide the corn mixture and chops between four plates. Serve immediately.