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Seared Lamb Chops with Sauteed Spinach and Polenta Cakes

While perusing the latest issue of Food and Wine, I couldn’t help but notice there was not one lamb recipe…but three!  It seemed like a sign that lamb would be on the menu for dinner.  Of course, in typical fashion I couldn’t commit to one of the recipes given and went my own route.  This will make enough for 4 small plates or 2 dinner sized plates.  Given the price of the chops, I like to go the small plate route and serve with salad and some cheese for snacking.

The polenta cake was inspired by my favorite pizza.  A wood-fired California style pizza topped with sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, and a generous sprinkling of fresh rosemary.

Sundried Tomato, Rosemary, and Goat Cheese Polenta Cake

     

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4  cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
  • 1 T. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 T. Butter
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Bring salted water to boil.  Slowly add cornmeal to water while whisking constantly.  Turn down to low heat and cook for 5 minutes while regularly whisking.  Add remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes.  Transfer polenta to a buttered, non-stick baking dish.
(I used a tart pan with a removable bottom.)  Let cool for a few minutes and then move to freezer for about 20 minutes.  (If you have more time, 4o minutes in the refrigerator will do the trick.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees while waiting for polenta to cool and set.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, then cut into desired shapes.  Broil cakes on both sides until a very lightly browned. These would be great pan fried too.  While tasty, I might try with broth to add some additional depth next time.

Spinach Saute

  • 2 cups of chopped red onion
  • dash of crushed red pepper
  • 8 cups loosely packed chopped spinach

Saute onions and red pepper over low heat until soft.  Add spinach and combine.  Cook for a few minutes and then place lid on pan and remove from heat until ready to serve.  I like to wait to salt sauteed spinach until the end.  (It’s way too easy to over salt greens when you salt right away…it looks like there is so much more in the pan than you’ll end up with after they’ve cooked down.)

Lamb Chops

  • 4 lamb chops
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 T. aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 T. each finely chopped rosemary & thyme

    Take chops out of refrigerator about an hour before you’re ready to cook.  Dry them thoroughly and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in pan and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes total making sure to cook all sides.  I take these off the heat at 110 degrees and cover with foil to rest for at least 5 minutes for medium rare.  (This temp may sound low for medium rare, but the small size of the chops will make them quickly rise to their intended temperature after removing from heat.)

Remove pan from heat and stir in vinegar and herbs to warm.  Use as a finishing glaze for the dish.


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