lamb & asparagus with salmoriglio

Serves:
4    |   
Prep Time:
20 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
15 minutes

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lamb & asparagus with salmoriglio

My neighbor Karen came by with a heap of asparagus from a friend’s farm in Tracy, California. These aren’t dainty, pinkie-slim stalks; these are big ol’ fat boys with deep asparagus flavor and texture. The first night, I snapped off the dry ends by bending each stalk and seeing where it broke; the stuff below the snap went into a pot to make asparagus stock for a risotto; the stuff above got sauteed with butter to go in that risotto. I broiled the rest of the asparagus with some lamb chops and made salmoriglio to go with it, which is basically an herby vinaigrette with a fancy name. It’s often used on fish, but I like it on lamb chops and asparagus, which are a classic pair. Or you can use it on chicken, pork chops, broccoli—it makes such an easy glamorous dinner!

ingredients

salmoriglio
1 juicy Meyer or regular lemon
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for asparagus

4 lamb chops of choice (see note)
salt and pepper
1 pound asparagus

directions

To make the sauce, a half hour before serving, juice the lemon into a small bowl (there should be about 2 tablespoons juice). Put the garlic in a press and squeeze right into the lemon juice, then whisk in the salt with a fork. Add 2 to 3 pinches red pepper flakes. On a board, mince the parsley and oregano together (either fresh or dried). Stir herbs into bowl. Whisk in the 1/3 cup olive oil. Set sauce aside for flavors to blend.

Remove lamb chops from the refrigerator and place on a plate. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and let the meat stand at room temperature. Cut the woody ends off the asparagus. Spread asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with a few teaspoons of olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

Preheat a broiler. Broil the asparagus until they are slightly browned, about 8 minutes, shaking pan once or twice to turn spears. Remove asparagus, then cook lamb on broiler pan until cooked to your liking (see note, below).

While meat cooks, put the sauce in a small pan and place over medium heat until just sizzling (about 3 minutes); do not let come to a boil. Remove from heat and spoon sauce over cooked asparagus and chops.

note: most butchers carry different cuts of lamb chops, such as small ones from the rack (with the rib bone attached) or bone-in chops from the loin. Generally, about 7 minutes in a broiler or on a grill (turning once) will cook these to medium-rare, but adjust the timing so the lamb is cooked to your liking.