Lamb chops are so, so easy to cook. They’re kind of fancy, though, which makes them great dinner party or special-occasion food. And they’re a slam-dunk for Easter. Why not go a little less traditional with your Easter lamb this year, though, and make these seared lamb chops with lemon & tahini sauce? They hint at Moroccan flavors without being inaccessible for someone who isn’t very daring. And if you want a little more punch in the sauce, just add a bit of za’atar.
The sauce comes together in about 30 seconds flat. And the lamb takes 2 minutes per side to cook. Seriously, you could have a delicious main course on the table in less than 10 minutes. Serve the succulent little lamb lollipops with sides of couscous and roasted asparagus, and you have a ridiculously easy and gourmet meal.
It may be tempting to substitute something for the preserved lemon in the sauce recipe. If you CAN find preserved lemons, I strongly recommend using them. There’s just no true substitute for their flavor and texture. If you can’t find them, you can make your own. (Tutorial here! They take a few weeks before they’re ready to eat though, so plan ahead.) In an absolute pinch, substitute a squeeze of lemon, a bit of zest and some salt.
- 12 lamb rib chops, cut into individual chops
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- to garnish: chopped flat-leaf parsley, sesame seeds, additional high quality extra virgin olive oil
- serve with lemon & tahini sauce (recipe below)
- Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. You want a hot pan.
- Coat the lamb chops with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Sear the lamb over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes per side for medium-rare lamb.
- To serve: drizzle with high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Garnish with parsley and tahini.
- I love to cook lamb rib chops individually to maximize the amount of sear on each chop. The key to keeping the insides from overcooking is to use a really hot pan and only cook the chops for a few minutes per side. But there's no reason this dish wouldn't work if you prefer to cook your ribs together in the rack, then slice them into individual pieces after cooking.
- 4 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 2 teaspoons preserved lemon, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 4+ tablespoons water
- optional: 1 teaspoon za'atar
- olive oil
- chopped preserved lemon
- sesame seeds
- Combine all ingredients except the water in a small bowl. Mix well to incorporate. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is smooth and not too thick.
- Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of preserved lemon and/or sesame seeds.
- If you must, you can substitute a healthy squeeze of lemon juice, zest from 1/4 lemon and a large pinch of salt for the preserved lemon. But making your own preserved lemons is so easy! Check out our tutorial on www.alyssaandcarla.com (coming Wednesday).
- Za'atar is not for everyone. I love it, so I put it in the dipping sauce. But if you don't have it or aren't a fan, don't let that stop you from making this dish!
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