WINE WITH…Lamb Chops with Lavender Salt
Bill Ward, a wine writer (Minneapolis Star Tribune) and fellow judge at the recent Critics Challenge Competition, sent us this recipe with the promise that
these are the world’s tastiest lamb chops. “Better double the recipe,” he added. “They always go like mad.” We made them recently and we agree enthusiastically that these chops really are pretty darn good. We aren’t certain that the lavender sea salt is the key to success here or whether the fresh herb and olive oil marinade is what makes them so special, but whatever the explanation, these lamb chops taste terrific and are very wine-friendly to boot.
Since our herb garden is in full spring production, we used fresh herbs in the marinade. We bought sea salt and dried culinary lavender from our local Williams Sonoma shop.
Lamb Chops with Lavender Salt
8-10 lamb loin chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1½ tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons minced fresh marjoram and/or oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
About 6-8 hours ahead of time rub or brush both sides of each lamb chop with a generous amount of olive oil. Salt and pepper both sides of the chops and press slices of garlic on them. Combine the rosemary, thyme, and other herbs and distribute them over both sides of the chops. Place the meat in a baking dish or other wide container; drizzle the rest of the oil over it; then cover the container tightly with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator.
To cook the chops, scrape off the garlic and some of the marinade while you are heating the grill, blotting the meat lightly with paper towel. Grill the meat quickly, about 2-3 minutes per side. Sprinkle a small amount of lavender salt over each chop and serve at once.
*To make your own lavender salt. mix together 1/2 cup of sea salt and 11/2 tablespoons of dried culinary lavender. Grind the mixture with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder (We’ve also had reasonably good results using a wooden spoon). Sprinkle the remaining lavender salt on sliced tomatoes or other summer produce as a side dish.