Lamb loin chops with gremolata make for a hearty and delicious meal. Sunday supper is calling!
Maybe it's because of its connotations with Easter, or maybe it's because people are more wary of cooking it than they are a sirloin steak or pork chop, but lamb has an unfair reputation as a special-occasion meat.
And while it's true I can't hunker down to eat a four-pound boneless lamb leg roast every night of the week, I can throw a few lamb chops in a pan and roast them up into a juicy, flavorful dinner for two - or even for one if I'm craving a steak but don't want a huge portion of red meat.
Though rib chops, the tender lollipop-shaped pieces of lamb, are the most common cut for a quick pan-sear preparation, I'm a fan of loin chops. They give you about the same ratio of meat per pound as rib chops, but they're like miniature T-bone steaks (and in fact come from the same anatomical region of the lamb as T-bones and porterhouses do on a cow, with similar marbled flavor).
And they essentially prepare themselves when you rub them combine them with a Gremolata recipe, the Italian catch-all term for a chopped herb, lemon, and garlic mixture that's used with abandon in many savory dishes.
It's often used as a sprinkled garnish for the Milanese braised veal dish osso buco, but there's no law saying you can't use it on other cuts of meat. Or with fish or vegetable or shrimp recipes off the grill.
(It also makes a dead simple pasta dinner on those nights when the fridge and pantry are echoingly empty.)
Though parsley, garlic, and lemon are standby ingredients in gremolata, like its use across Italian cuisine, there's no hard and fast rule dictating which herbs and citrus zest need to be included, so feel free to have fun with combinations in your own kitchen.
Throw in some rosemary as I've done below, or a little mint (another natural pairing with roasted lamb). Got an extra orange withering away in your fruit bowl? Zest that bad boy up and see where it takes you.