Kasey Wilson: Nothing beats lamb when important company is coming over

Kasey Wilson can count on roasted leg of lamb or barbecued lamb chops with creamless potato gratin to wow her special guests.

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Lamb is often associated with celebratory events, and growing up, we always had lamb for Easter dinner. As far as I’m concerned, nothing beats lamb when important company — meaning good friends or in-laws come to visit. I know I can count on roasted leg of lamb or barbecued lamb chops with creamless potato gratin to wow them.

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The beauty of David Robertson’s recipe for grilled lamb chops from the Dirty Apron Cookbook is the olive tapenade herb crust made from fresh herbs.

But Robertson says, “If you don’t have time to prepare the olive tapenade, use Dijon mustard as an alternative.”

You need not feel guilty when eating the flavourful low-calorie gratin. An alternative to the traditional gratin that is loaded with butter and cream, this version has such flavour that you may never make it the old way again.

The beauty of David Robertson’s grilled lamb chops is the crust made from fresh herbs.
The beauty of David Robertson’s grilled lamb chops is the crust made from fresh herbs. Photo by John Sherlock /PNG

Grilled Lamb Chops with Olive Tapenade Herb Crust

Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade

½ cup kalamata olives, pitted

½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of ¼ lemon

Lamb Chops

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8 lamb chops, each 2 oz

4 tbsp herb panko

Herb Panko

1 cup loosely packed mixed herbs (parsley, basil and chives)

½ cup panko crumbs

Place herbs in a food processor and mix until finely chopped. Add panko and blend until mixture turns green. Set aside. Will keep refrigerated in airtight container for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.

Lamb Chops: Preheat broiler on high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper, then place chops on a grill pan and cook quickly on each side until slightly rare about 1 minute per side.

Remove lamb from the grill pan and spread one side of each chop with 1 tbsp. of the olive tapenade. Spread the tapenade evenly, then sprinkle 1/2 tbsp. of the herb panko mixture over each chop.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set lamb chops on a baking tray and bake until the chops are cooked to your liking, 6 to 7 minutes for medium rare or 7 to 8 minutes for medium.

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To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the meat; it should read between 130 degrees F and 135 degrees F for medium-rare.

Serves 4

Creamless Potato Gratin

The potatoes can be sliced up to 4 hours before dinner and kept in water until you assemble the gratin. If you prefer to omit the broiler step, sprinkle the cheese over the potatoes before they go into the oven: it will melt and form a nicely browned crust.

3 to 4 cups water (24 to 36 oz) chicken stock or beef stock

6 long white new potatoes, peeled and sliced crosswise ¼-inch (6mm) thick

½ cup (60 g) freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter a 3-qt (3 L) shallow rectangular or oval baking dish.

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Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Lay potato slices in prepared dish. Pour the hot stock evenly over the potatoes to cover barely.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake until the liquid is absorbed and the potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a broiler. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the potatoes and slip under the broiler. Broil until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Serve at once.

Serves 6

Lamb Rib Chops with Cracked Wheat, Mint and Asian Pear Salad

Bulgar or cracked wheat, is the grain that stars in tabbouleh, the parsley, wheat and tomato salad that is so popular in the Middle East. Bulgur is available at many supermarkets; Bob’s Red Mill is a very good brand. Asian apple pears are cousins of our pears — they are the colour of Bosc pears with a round apple shape and apple crispness, but are even juicier, like a pear.

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1 cup whole grain quick-cooking bulgur wheat

1 (12oz) apple pear, peeled, cored and diced

½ cup chopped fresh mint

2 green onions, thinly sliced

¼ cup (packed) coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, pressed

½ tsp kosher salt


1 to 1¼ lbs lamb rib rack, frenched (see Hack)

Extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 tsp coriander

½ tsp finely grated lemon peel

½ tsp kosher salt

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp honey

About 8 large red lettuce leaves to line a platter or 4 plates

For the Salad: Place bulgur in a large bowl; pour 1 cup boiling water over it and let stand until bulgur is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour.

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Add apple pear, mint, green onions, parsley and pine nuts to the bulgur and toss well.

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt and whisk to blend for the dressing. Spoon all but 2 tablespoons of dressing over bulgur salad and toss well.

Season salad to taste with additional salt and black pepper.

For the Lamb: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Brush a small roasting pan lightly with olive oil. Place lamb rack in prepared pan and rub with garlic, coriander, lemon peel and salt. Sprinkle lamb with black pepper. Roast lamb in oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the lamb registers 125 degrees F., about 15 minutes. Transfer lamb to a cutting board.

Set roasting pan on stovetop over medium high heat. Add 3 tablespoons water, lemon juice and honey to roasting pan and boil, stirring up any browned bits from bottom of pan until liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

Line 4 plates with lettuce leaves. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons dressing over lettuce. Spoon salad onto centre of platter or plates. Slice lamb into chops and surround salad with rib chops. Drizzle lamb with pan juices and serve.

Kitchen hack: To French Meat

Cut the meat away from the end of a rib or chop, so that part of the bone is exposed.

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Source: vancouversun.com