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Recipe: Seared Lamb Chops With Mint Herb Sauce

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Seared lamb chops with mint herb sauce are a good choice for St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day, aka the Feast of St. Patrick, is devoted not only to “the wearing o’ the green,” but the eating of the green. Both customs nod to the color of the shamrock, one of the great totems of Ireland, of which Patrick is the patron saint.

Like the shamrock, mint is green, which helps explain why recipes for lamb with a sweet-and-sour mint sauce abound in Ireland (and throughout the British Isles). My version of the sauce isn’t sweet — but it is bright green, deeply flavorful and refreshing, a tangy complement to some thin and crisp lamb chops.

The lamb chops available in our supermarkets usually come from America or New Zealand. American chops tend to be larger and milder in flavor, but either kind would be delicious here.

I call for these rib chops to be pounded, which creates more surface area, which means a more delicious crust on the chops. The easiest way to pound them (or any thin piece of meat) is to sprinkle the chops liberally with water on both sides, put them into a sealed plastic bag, then pound them with a meat pounder or rolling pin. (The water keeps them from sticking to the plastic and shredding.)

If you don’t want to spring for rib chops — they can be pricey — use shoulder chops instead. These are tasty, but the bone in the center will prevent pounding. And they’re thicker; they require a little more cooking time.

  • Eight trimmed, Frenched rib chops (about 2 ounces each)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • >> Mint Herb Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Working with one chop at a time, sprinkle generously on both sides with water. Place in a resealable bag or between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound the chop, using a meat pounder or a rolling pin until it is 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with remaining chops. Pat them all dry.

In a large skillet on high, heat half the oil. Season half the chops with salt and pepper on both sides and add to pan. Saute until nicely browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a platter and keep covered loosely with foil.

Pour fat from skillet, add 1/4 cup water and simmer to clean pan. Discard water and wipe out skillet.

Repeat procedure with remaining chops and oil. Transfer to the platter and let rest 3 minutes before serving.

To make sauce: Combine ingredients in bowl, adding juices from the platter.

To serve, transfer 2 chops to each of 4 plates and top each portion with a heaping spoonful of sauce. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 515 calories, 47 g total fat, 13 g saturated fat, 71 mg cholesterol, 380 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 20 g protein

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