Pesto-brushed lamb chops

Presto: it’s pesto

Originally appeared in the October 11, 2012 edition of the Southside Times.

Well, Indy is inching its way toward the chilly chapters of the season—time to think about your culinary reserves.  Of course, when it comes to our pantries and fridges, there are items that keep better than others.  What I like to do is maintain a few ingredients and incorporate them sparingly throughout the autumn and winter; and as it happens, homemade pesto is just such a culinary concoction.

Many Italian factions contend that traditional pesto—a mixture of fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and cheeses (though there are countless variations)—is associated with the combination of mortar and pestle (which makes sense, etymologically speaking).  What’s more, there are pockets of food enthusiasts that won’t budge and that aforementioned execution.  Honestly, as long as it’s prepared with care, you can produce a noble pesto in a blender or food processor.

Though the key ingredients are delicate, pesto freezes quite well.  And here’s a tip for the fridge: in an seal-top container, add additional olive oil to the top layer to prohibit too much oxygen from penetrating your pesto.

And it doesn’t stop here; so don’t be surprised if you see another pesto permutation emerge in these pages in the months to come.

Pesto-brushed lamb chops

Serves 2 (2 chops per serving)

  • 6 fluid ounces olive oil
  • 1 ½ ounces pine nuts
  • 4 ounces fresh basil leaves
  • ½ tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 ounces Romano cheese, grated
  • To taste, kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 4, 4-ounce lamb chops
  • As needed, pickled capers (for garnish)

1.  Pour ½ of olive oil in a food processor or blender, and add in following six ingredients.  Blend or process until a smooth paste forms; with motor running, slowly pour in remaining olive oil to evenly incorporate.  Reserve pesto in a bowl or dish and set aside.

2.  Preheat both an oven-safe sauté (or grill pan) along with an oven (set to roughly 400° F).  Using a pastry brush, apply a bit of the pesto to the exterior of the chops; add a small amount of olive oil to the pan and add lamb chops.  Sear on all sides, brushing on more pesto before placing in oven to finishing cooking to desired doneness.

3.  Remove lamb chops from oven and allow to rest for 7 – 8 minutes.  Serve the chops with a fresh vegetable, and sprinkle plates with pickled capers.

Published in: on October 13, 2012 at 6:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pan-seared beef filet with pearled barley salad

Steak and barley—nothing odd about this couple

Originally appeared in the August 11, 2011 edition of The Southside Times.

Just because you hear the word “steak” doesn’t automatically imply “heavy.”  Today, I’m talking about filet mignon—appealing to stout appetites in the mood for something filling, yet dainty enough to guard off guilt.  And buying this coveted cut of beef doesn’t mean breaking the bank.  A thick, center-cut filet will do the trick for a duo of diners.  This is a summertime dish, after all.  Read more here: (more…)

Asian lettuce wraps

Homemade mod

Originally appeared in the June 02, 2011 edition of The Southside Times.

Think about a typical dinner with friends—often, after scanning the “starters” section of the menu (sometimes more appealing than the boring “entrée” portion), aren’t you tempted to say, “Hey, how about we split a few appetizers?”  My point is that people crave light and stimulating, pre-dinner dishes.  Continue reading after the jump: (more…)