Lamb loin chops are sometimes overshadowed by rib chops or a rack of lamb but they can be extremely tender and flavorful. Tia Harrison of Avedano's butcher shop in San Francisco rubs them with lavender and orange zest and serves them with a perfect fall salad of bitter greens tossed with roasted hazelnuts and crunchy, fruity pomegranate seeds. This aromatic rub would also be terrific on a butterflied leg of lamb—great for dinner parties.
More Amazing Lamb Recipes
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 double-cut lamb loin chops (13 ounces each)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 pound puntarelle, chicory or dandelion greens, torn into bite-size pieces
5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 cup salted roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
How to Make It
Preheat the broiler and position a rack 8 to 10 inches from the heat. In a bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the shallot, orange zest, lavender and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the lamb chops and transfer them to a broiling pan or a metal rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil the chops for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 125°.
In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil with the lemon juice and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Add the puntarelle, arugula, hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds and toss. Season the salad with salt and pepper, toss again and serve with the lamb chops.
Lavender and lamb bring to mind garrigue, the term used to describe the aromatic herbs and shrubs that grow near France's Mediterranean coast. The term is also used to describe an herbal, fragrant quality often found in red wines from Mediterranean regions like Provence and the Rhône valley; many of which are ideal partners for these juicy chops. Try the spicy, aptly named, Domaine la Garrigue Cuvée Romaine Côtes du Rhône or the raspberry-scented Domaine de la Janasse Côtes du Rhône.
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