Grilled Lamb with Tomato Vinaigrette and Caponata
- ACTIVE: 30 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 50 MIN
- SERVINGS: 8
This is a family meal that gets its inspiration from the countless little taverns all over Italy where grilled lamb comes on the bone, served with vegetable salads like this caponata (an eggplant dish with pine nuts and anchovies). I’m always mopping up the vegetables and lamb juices in these restaurants. My lovely wife constantly tells me, “Slow down!” and “Watch your manners!” So, to eat the way I like but also make sure my wife will still dine in public with me, I compose the dish on my plate with cheese and grilled bread under the meat and vegetables to catch all the juices. Thus, one of our favorite rites of spring is the first lamb grill of the season, which always makes me remember a family trip to Sardinia. Our seven-year-old sits with me (“Dad, lamb lollipops!” he shouts) and we demolish half the platter. Eating with your hands is the best advice I have, but use a fork and knife if you are getting yelled at too much. Some guests think the vinaigrette is too much. Balderdash! I like that acidic punch, one that isn’t as tart-sweet as the caponata and cuts the richness of the lamb in a way that no other component of the dish could.—Andrew Zimmern
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 lemon—very thinly sliced, seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 2 frenched racks of lamb (2 1/2 pounds each), cut into individual chops
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for rubbing
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Grilled bread, for serving
- 6 ounces sheep-milk feta cheese, crumbled, for serving
- Agrodolce Caponata, for serving
- MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the oil. Add the tomato and tomato paste and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the tomato is very soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tarragon, parsley and lemon slices and simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and the remaining 1/4 cup of oil, cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and white pepper. Let the vinaigrette cool to room temperature.
- PREPARE THE LAMB Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Rub the lamb chops with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat until medium-rare, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with grilled bread, feta and Agrodolce Caponata. Pass the tomato vinaigrette at the table.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.