lamb & asparagus with salmoriglio
Prep Time:20 minutes |
Cook Time:15 minutes
My neighbor Karen came by with a near-bushel of asparagus from a friend’s farm in Tracy, California. Bounty! The first night, I snapped off the dry ends by bending each stalk and seeing where it broke; the pieces below the snap went into a pot to make stock for asparagus risotto and the spears above got sliced and stirred into said risotto. Another night, I broiled a stack of spears with some lamb chops and splashed salmoriglio over both. It’s like an Italian chimichurri, an herby vinaigrette used in Sicily over fish. But I figured it would be great with lamb chops and it was. Or you can use it on grilled chicken, pork chops, steak — and of course, asparagus.
1 juicy Meyer or regular lemon
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint or 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
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 a pinch of red pepper flakes. On a board, mince the mint or 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 (or an outdoor grill) 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 warm 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.