Without getting into too much detail, I had reason to celebrate this week because I started a new job as a full employee at a large PR agency. That meant I was willing to spend a little more than usual on a nicer cut of meat from the grocery store. I decided to go with lamb because, honestly, I still wasn’t willing to spend that much and I haven’t had lamb in a while. I decided to go with a meal I made for a dinner party a really long time ago that turned out really well. It’s super simple: seared lamb chops with a warm pasta salad that’s just noodles, tomatoes, feta cheese and dressing.
“Simple” doesn’t necessarily mean “easy,” though. Cooking tiny little lamb chops like these is definitely an art, and I almost overdid mine. If you’re going for medium rare (which you should, of course), you need to watch your meat very closely and pull it off at the right time. For the best results, take the lamb out of the fridge a couple of hours before you cook it so that it warms up to room temperature before cooking. A couple of minutes after you flip the lamb chops in the pan, touch the top of a piece and press to check the firmness. You don’t want the meat to be completely springy; it should have some give if the center is still rare. I almost always err on the side of undercooking things because I hate the thought of spending $15 on meat and then cooking all the flavor and juiciness out of it.
4-5 lamb rib chops
1/2 pound of your favorite short pasta
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
- Put water on high heat to boil and a cast iron skillet on high heat for searing the lamb. Add salt and olive oil to the water and cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta and let it cool slightly.
- By the time you’re done with the pasta, your cast iron pan should be screaming hot. Sprinkle lamb chops with salt, pepper and paprika. Add olive oil to the pan; it should start smoking almost immediately. Add the lamb chops to the hot pan and cook for about 3 minutes a side. Remove lamb chops from pan and place in a warm oven or tent with foil.
- Dice tomatoes and add those to a large bowl with the pasta and feta. Whisk together the oil and vinegar, add to the bowl, and toss all the ingredients together. Serve alongside your medium-rare lamb chops and enjoy an awesome dinner in 30 minutes or less.