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Recipe: Cast iron does lamb chops right

  • TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

    TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

With the acquisition of my grandmother’s 10-inch cast-iron frying pan, with its near Teflon-level of seasoning, I now have three heavy-bottomed skillets on my stove.

That’s a lot of skillets to keep out at all times, but I don’t have to explain myself to Anne Byrn.

Byrn, best known for her “Cake Mix Doctor” books, has a new cookbook out dedicated to cast-iron skillets called “Skillet Love” that will remind you of the joy and versatility of cooking in these hard-working, long-lasting and even multigenerational pans.

As a dessert specialist, the Nashville-based Byrn had to include a few cake and cookie recipes, but she also takes readers through breakfast, lunch and dinner with 150 recipes, from fried green tomatoes to frittatas, hamburgers and scalloped potatoes.

I most frequently use my cast-iron skillet to quickly sear meats. Sausages, steaks and pork chops, I’ll cook entirely in the pan, but other cuts, like pork tenderloin, I’ll finish in the oven. Byrn’s recipe for lamb chops calls for cooking in batches in the skillet and then serving them with a tomato and mint slaw. You could serve this main dish with hummus and pita bread, couscous or roasted cauliflower.

“The iron skillet delivers big, bold flavors, and, boy, is this recipe a great example,” Byrn writes. “You season lamb chops with garlic, salt, pepper and spicy harissa before searing. (Harissa comes not only in paste form, but also as a powdered seasoning blend that you can sprinkle on lamb, pork and chicken before cooking.) The refreshing slaw of tomato and mint and a dollop of yogurt cool things off nicely.”

SEARED LAMB CHOPS WITH TOMATO AND MINT SLA

From “Skillet Love: From Steak to Cake: More Than 150 Recipes in One Cast-Iron Pan” by Anne Byrn (Grand Central Publishing, $30)

  • 8 small rib or loin lamb chops (1-3/4 to 2 pounds total)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Harissa seasoning, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • >> Slaw:
  • 1-1/2 cups halved red and yellow cherry tomatoes or quartered small plum tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves, bruised and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • >> Garnish:
  • Fresh mint sprigs
  • Plain full-fat yogurt

Arrange lamb chops in a single layer in a 13-by-9-inch glass dish. Season both sides with garlic, salt, pepper and harissa.

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium- high until nearly smoking, 3 to 4 minutes. Add vegetable oil to pan. When it is hot, sear half the lamb chops until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Do not move the lamb chops while they sear on each side. With tongs, pick up each lamb chop and sear around the edges. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining lamb chops.

To make slaw: Place tomatoes in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add mint leaves and lime juice. Drizzle with olive oil and add pepper flakes. Toss to coat.

Garnish lamb chops with mint sprigs. Serve with slaw and a dollop of yogurt. Serves 3 to 4.

Nutritional information unavailable.

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