Grilled Lamb Chops with Chimichurri

I’m working my way as quickly as I can through the mass of vegetables I bought at the farmers’ market this week.  The longer they sit the more vitamins that dissipate.  And, believe it or not, I’m still working my way through the freezer stock of farmers’ market meats from last Fall.  Yesterday I pulled out a lamb chop to thaw.  Then I came upon this recipe originally called “Grilled Lamb Chops with Roasted Summer Squash and Chimichurri” which reminded me that I had some squash in the drawer.  Of course there’s also the endless supply of swiss chard. (Note to self – one bunch of chard is plenty).

I didn’t end up roasting the squash as directed.  The squash is exceptionally early this year because of the very warm Spring.  Summer squash is about my favorite vegetable in the world so this is a banner event.  The first squash of the season just had to be squash and onions done in the cast iron skillet.  Then in another pan I sauteed a little onion and then steamed the chard with cider vinegar.  All those little pink bits that you see are the stems.  Usually people throw those out, but if you dice them kind of small they add a really nice texture.

Turns out I was really only interested in this recipe for the chimichurri.  A chimichurri is an herb based sauce served with grilled meat.  It has South American origins.  I’ve seen many varieties so feel free to play with the recipe a little.  I chopped down a lot of my parsley plant so I didn’t have enough parsley.  I threw in some cilantro to make up the difference.  Other than that it’s oil, citrus (lemon juice), acid (vinegar), heat (red pepper) and salt.  Lots of flavor, very little fat.  I didn’t have the proportions quite right in this one.  It was a little bit soupy.  Soupy enough that I drained it before I put it on the plate.  The texture notwithstanding, the flavor was really good.

It’s hard to beat good grilled lamb.  The lamb is the mildest I’ve ever had.  Pair-A-Dice Farm has never let me down.  Every cut of lamb I’ve ever bought has been wonderful.  (Incidentally their wool is beautiful too).  The chimichurri added a wonderful tang and some nice heat to the grilled flavor of the lamb.  A slightly bitter green flavor from the chard and the sweetness of the squash and onions made a really balanced plate.  And pretty too. 

This was just a regular Tuesday night dinner, but if someone had stopped by unexpectedly I would have been more than happy to serve this to a guest.  I’m pretty excited that I’ll be having it for dinner again tomorrow night!

Good?  Very good.
Easy? Yep. A mini chopper and a grill.
Good for company? Sure, why not.
Special shopping? Of course I recommend local lamb.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Chimichurri

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped onions
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Dash of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper
Lamb chops for 2-4 people, loin or shoulder

Directions

1. Place garlic, 1/2 cup parsley, 2 tablespoons oil, shallots, and next 4 ingredients (through red pepper) in a food processor; process 1 minute or until almost smooth. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; pulse 2 times.
2. Lightly coat lamb with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Place lamb on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
3.Top each lamb chop with 1 1/2 teaspoons chimichurri.

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