Remember when you were a child and you received a lollipop as a special treat. The lollipop lamb chop is one good reason to be a grown up. The treats get better. If this is how my new year starts, it’s going to be a very rewarding year.
This is a glamorous dish that makes you feel spoiled, yet still fits into my idea of delicious, sexy, skinny food.
The recipe was more specifically for a “rack” of lamb. But, the lollipop chops came as a result of paying for two racks and getting home on New Year’s Eve and discovering they only gave us one. Now a quick rush back to the store, where within only two hours, all the racks were gone, and all that was left were a few packages of lollipop chops. Not happy about this at all, I made both, and to my delightful surprise, I enjoyed the chops much better.
The only problem with the recipe is that Mr. Spinach Tiger hates mustard and my mother hates garlic, and both happened to be in the kitchen as I was preparing the lamb. My mother is a like a broken record with garlic. “do you have to put that on?” and my reply is always the same, “trust me.”
You see, I know why she hates garlic. I, too, have had too many meals served to me with overpowering garlic, or worse, overpowering garlic salt (I never use that) and it has ruined the dish. Some cooks may think the more garlic the better and that’s like saying the more “perfume” the better. There may be exceptions to this (the classic 40 clove roasted chicken) but, more is not always more and I know people may disagree with me, but fresh garlic can enhance a dish or ruin it.
Growing up under the umbrella of many fantastic home cooks, I learned the secret of “editing” the herbs and especially the garlic. Eating many meals in Italy confirmed the fact that we all too often overdo the garlic and ruin the balance of the dish. This recipe had the right amount of 4 flavor ingredients and texture, and it worked deliciously.
The verdict at our lovely dinner table…they loved it. What better way to end 2008 than with people I love and food they love, and a really great bottle of cab?
Lollipop chops can be picked up and eaten with your hands, which can make for a great party or buffet food. Serve with side dishes of Greek or Italian black olives, flat breads topped with arugula and Manchego cheese, all which pair well with a Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, I made a homemade rosemary flat bread (recipe to come) which was delicious topped with an arugula salad and perfect with lamb. This was a beautiful Sunday lunch.
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1¼-pound rack of lamb, or eight frenched lamp chops (trim fat)
- ¼ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
- Sea Salt, Black Pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 450
- Chop thyme and garlic together. I use a small mezzaluna when chopping herbs and garlic. Mix into mustard.
- Rub on salted chops, and refrigerate up to six hours.
- Right before heating, pat on panko bread crumbs on top of mustard mixture.
- Preheat cast iron pan or baking stone.
- Put cold chops in hot oven, unless they are thick chops. (If so, allow them to rest at room temperature before roasting).
- Roast 5-7 minutes on each side or just until crisp for medium rare. Adjust according to your preference, keeping in mind chops will continue to cook, while resting.
- Let rest five minutes.
- Lollipop Chops: You may need to increase ingredient to make sure chops are covered.
- Rack of Lamb: If you go this route, bake at 425, approximately 30 minutes for medium rare.
- Cast Iron: This is very hot and stays hot for quite a while, and does a great job crisping food. You can also use a baking stone or a regular roasting pan.
- Panko Bread Crumbs: These go a long way in adding a crispy texture without a high carb content. I used a whole wheat version.