- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 pound smoked ham or prosciutto, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 2 pounds tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 2 pounds zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- One 1 1/2-pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 16 oil-cured black olives, pitted and chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped oregano
- 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
- 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 16 lamb rib chops (3 1/4 pounds)
- In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and smoked ham and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat until the juices are bubbling, 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 3 minutes. Add the brandy and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, olives, oregano, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 35 minutes. Discard the bay leaf; reserve the ham for another use. Season with salt and pepper.
- In each of 2 very large skillets, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil. Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper. Add the chops to the skillets and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderately high and cook until the chops are browned on the bottom, 2 minutes. Turn the chops and cook until browned on the second side and medium-rare, about 2 minutes. Place 2 lamb chops on each plate. Spoon the samfaina alongside; serve.
A powerful Spanish Cabernet Sauvignon with loads of cherry and sweet tannins is a perfect match for the smoky samfaina.