You won’t find lamb chops better than these. Thick, with a very dark exterior, a rosy-red interior and a savory flavor that leaves nothing to be desired. This recipe illustrates perfectly the concept of how uncomplicated food can provide a big dining experience. Make sure your exhaust fan works, and serve your chops on plain sturdy plates, so their beauty can shine.
- 12 double rib lamb chops (1 1/2-to 2-inches thick), trimmed of excess fat (or use chops from the loin)
- Garlic Confit Oil or extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
- 2 rounded teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- Freshly ground black pepper and Kosher or sea salt to taste
To set up
Line a large shallow baking sheet with aluminum foil, shiny-side up, and place the baking sheet on the rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425oF, preferably for 30 minutes or longer. Turn on your exhaust fan. (Alternatively, if you don’t have an exhaust fan, skip the above and just preheat the broiler with the rack as close as possible, allowing the broiler pan easy entry and exit from the oven.)
To season and cook the chops (using the pan-searing, oven-roasting method)
Pour about 1/2 cup of the oil into a bowl and stir in the garlic, half the minced herbs and lots of black pepper. Use a pastry brush apply an even layer of the seasoned oil to all sides of the lamb chops, then season again, very generously, with more pepper.
Sprinkle the chops generously, on one side only, with salt. Place one or two large well-seasoned cast-iron skillets, or a large stove-top grill pan on the stove, over high heat. (Or, straddle an extra-large grill pan over two burners.) As a last resort, use one or two heavy-bottomed nonstick skillets. When very hot, lay the chops in the pan, salted-side down, in a single layer without crowding. Brown the chops on the first side for 3 full minutes. Sprinkle the unsalted side with more salt, and then use tongs to turn the chops and brown them for another 3 minutes. Since double-rib chops will have a wide, thin layer of top fat, after browning them on both sides, stand the chops on this fatty side, to brown and crisp it. If doing this in batches, remove each batch of chops to a tray so you can sear the rest.
When all the chops are seared, transfer them to the preheated baking sheet and sprinkle them with the remaining minced herbs and a bit more salt. Roast the double chops until done to your liking: 7 to 9 minutes for medium-rare (6 minutes for thinner loin chops). Serve hot with or without mint jelly.
Alternatively, to broil the chops
Place seasoned chops on a cold broiler pan and broil under a preheated broiler until seared, sizzling and done to your liking, turning once. Double-rib chops will take 5 to 7 minutes per side, depending on how chilled they are and how done you like them.
Timing is Everything
The chops can be seasoned (but not salted) up to two days ahead and kept refrigerated, well covered.
The chops can be pan-seared up to an hour before finishing them in the oven. Leave them on a tray at a comfortable room temperature. Lengthen the roasting time, however, by a few minutes, to compensate for the cooler temperature of the chops when entering the oven. If broiling, cook just before serving.