How many of you have tried grilling lamb chops only to end up with charcoal looking lamb chops? Believe me, hubby and I have had our share of blackened lamb chops without meaning for it to be blackened. Lamb has a lot of fat, but the fat is what gives it the distinct flavor. Just when we were ready to give up, my friend J told us how to grill it. Remove some of the fat (I can’t tell you how it breaks my heart to see all those fat sliced away, how I would love to have it crisped and served on the side but my hubby threatens to ban lamb from the house if he hears another word from me about wasting the fat.). Leave enough fat though, so it could self-baste the lamb as you grill it. Season it as you like, although for grilled lamb the best so far is just plain sea salt and pepper and maybe a little chopped rosemary. Set your grill on high, wait for it to get to an internal temperature of about 400 F before you add the lamb chops. Now comes the hard part. You have to watch the lamb and never shut the grill. When you see a flare up because of dripping fat you have to move it to another part of the grill that is still hot. Lamb chops cannot be left unattended , they cook pretty fast in around 10 to 15 minutes for a temperature of medium , cook it less time if you want medium rare. We use Australian Lamb almost exclusively because it is the flavor and tenderness we want. I find that American Lamb is a lot tougher unless you get the lamb that has been only milk-fed (spring lamb), the problem with this is that you get extremely tender meat but not much flavor.
As an appetizer, we went all out and splurged on caviar. I prepared the "Sorrel Jelly" once more and now you have it as it was meant to be prepared from the book. The caviar used is Osetra caviar and 1 oz of it is more than enough for 4 servings of the “Sorrel Jelly”. I must say despite the sour tasting nature of the sorrel, the wine we had with this, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 from Pride Mountain Vineyards (in NapaValley) tasted phenomenal with this appetizer.
For a side dish, I decided to forego the potato and try a cauliflower gratin. I bought a head of cauliflower and chopped it up. Next time I’m going to just get chopped-up cauliflower since dealing with a whole head is so messy and so frustrating so if anyone has any advice on this please, do tell. This side dish was more work than I wanted. I was ready to scream and throw the whole thing into the garbage disposal when I tried to puree some of the hot minced cauliflower cream mixture and it kind popped the lid off my blender and I had cauliflower cream splatter everywhere (common sense should have told me that the heat would just be too much to keep the lid on). I guess I should have used a food processor but I think I’m sticking to potatoes next time unless I’m feeling ambitious again. The end result was very gratifying though, and I did end up with a nicely browned side dish that was actually very tasty.
Did I mention the wine J ? A lamb dinner is never complete without it.
For dessert, I prepared a crème caramel. Check back on my upcoming post. I feel this venerable custard deserves a story of its own.