This recipe calls for frenched lamb chops, which are chops with the meat cut away from the end of the rib so part of the bone is exposed. Frenching the chop makes it cleaner, and let’s call it fancier — almost like a lamb lollipop, if you will! Your butcher can do this with the quick swipe of a knife; asking him or her to do this makes fast work of this simple-to-prepare dish. Croute simply means “crust” in French. Fancy.
The pesto can be made a day ahead; I just placed it in an airtight container and made sure there was a layer of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the pesto so that it didn't turn brown. If the pesto is made ahead, the lamb chops take less than 15 minutes to cook!
- Christine, March 2015
Lamb Chops with Pesto Croute
1 handful fresh basil, washed and dried well
1/2 handful cilantro, washed and dried well
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons matzo meal
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a food processor, combine the basil, cilantro, and garlic. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and pine nuts and process until the mixture forms a paste, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the bread crumbs, and season with salt and pepper.
Season both sides of the lamb chops with salt and pepper. Prepare a grill or set a grill pan over high heat. Sear the lamb chops on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a baking sheet.
Place a spoonful of pesto in the center of each chop, then spread it evenly over the surface. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil over each chop. Bake until the crust is golden and crisp and the lamb is pink inside, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Recipe reprinted with permission.
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