Lamb Chops with Roasted Cherry Vinaigrette
Yield: serves 6
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 pound fresh sweet cherries such as Bing or Rainer, pitted and halved
- 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sat salt, preferably gray salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 scallions, white part only, cut on the bias into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 ½ tablespoons tarragon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
For the lamb:
- 18 lamb chops cut from a rack of lamb, at room temperature
- Sea salt, preferably gray salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
For the vinaigrette, preheat the oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, mix the cherries with 7 tablespoon of the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Heat an ovenproof sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and heat until shimmering. Add half of the cherries and toss them once or twice. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the cherries around the edges of the pan begin to turn lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and add to the remaining half of the cherries. Add the scallions, vinegar and tarragon. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Set aside.
For the lamb chops, prepare a hot wood fire in a charcoal grill or have a grill pan ready. Season both sides of each chop with salt. Brush lightly over with olive oil. If using a grill pan, heat the pan over high heat and oil and pan. Grill the chops for 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer the chops to a platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
If serving with polenta, place a mound of polenta on each warmed plate. Place 3 chops on the top of the polenta with bones pointing towards the plate’s center. Top with a spoonful of vinaigrette. Ladle any extra vinaigrette into small ramekins to pass at the table.
Source: Adapted from Michael Chiarello
That is cherry wood in the background. From a 12-foot cherry dining room table that Suzen fell in love with. And around which we built our house in the Catskills. I know that sounds a little backwards — a house for table, and for the dining room she craved. But that is what Suzi wanted.
We are a typical couple. She is the social one. I am the male loner, that man she worries might go postal if not surrounded by civilized people. In our New York City loft, Suzi runs Cooking by the Book. The entire loft is oriented around her corporate team building events. During the week, we live “around” the business. Literally.
On weekends, we are upstate. In the dining room. Seated with friends around that cherry table. And I rarely think about going postal, or even UPS.
Oh, to the point. The glass holds, naturally, cherry syrup. This is a wonderful device with multiple uses: in drinks, with fruit, over pound cake, …
The syrup takes minutes to make and stores for a month. Tomorrow, I’ll suggest a beverage that uses this cherry syrup in a sublimely delicious way. So, you need to slip out and get some frozen cherries. [And some bourbon or whiskey!]
Homemade Cherry Syrup
Yield: 2 ½ cups
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 12-ounce bag of frozen cherries
Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir with a slotted spoon and methodically push the spoon to the side of the pan and crush the cherries. Take your time, performing this crushing action as you bring the syrup to a boil.
Bring to a full boil, then remove from the heat. Stir and crush the final cherries. Allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator in a closed container.