Spring means many things. Remembering what the sun feels like, spending time outdoors, ditching the wool peacoat for short sleeves and dresses, cherry blossoms, (allergies)… and the return of farmer’s markets with produce other than root vegetables!
There’s nothing quite like farmers markets and talking to the individuals who grow/bake/produce the goods you buy from the local farms. I miss the days when I used to go down the street in San Francisco every Saturday and buy all my produce – even in the dead of “winter.” Boston is a little slow bringing this spring delight back so I decided that a short trip to Rhode Island was in order. I didnt want to wait until the end of this month to get my first fresh produce from Boston (we’re having our first ones open up this weekend!)
I was thinking about fruit, farm fresh eggs/chicken, baked bread, vegetables, local cheese, and… ramps.
Food fads are a lot like fashion – every year there is a new “hot” item. Last year for food it was pomegranates and acai – the super antioxidant food. This year its ramps – the wild garlic/onion spring favorite. They are all over menus, in food magazines, blogs, news paper articles, pictures – everywhere. Me? I’ve never had them. Since they’re famous for their fleeting availability in early spring, I was determined to get my hands on some. Maybe I’d make a souffle? Braise them? Serve with pasta and olive oil? Put on pizza? Scramble with some eggs. I was so excited.
But had no luck finding them. I must have walked up and down the aisle 10x looking around, talking to farmers – no one had any left.
However, this trip was still delightful. We went to a local diner, drank some coffee milk (not something we have in the Bay Area), and I bought some beautiful flowers, eggs, various vegetables, a whole chicken, and a lamb chop – all with great company.
Lamb is one of my favorite meats. I dont eat it very often – but it is quite irresistible. Lamb chops are small, juicy and tender with a small t-bone that separates the tenderloin from the eye. I know a lot of people have issues with eating young meat. Trust me, someone cooked me veal one time and couldnt bring myself to eat it. I just sat there looking at the plate, refusing to eat it. But for some reason I don’t have that same issue with lamb. (It doesn’t make sense, I know). I’m always looking for new lamb recipes to try out.
This recipe comes from one of my new cookbooks that I got at my favorite bookstore, Strand, while I was in New York City this weekend. The mint and vinegar make a bright fresh marinade, that is complemented nicely with a slight sweet/salty flavor.
The original recipe tells you to grill the lamb chops on a charcoal or gas grill. I dont have any outdoor space or a grill, so I chose to use my broiler instead. If you do choose to grill these watch them carefully, as they may not take very long to reach medium-rare. And wait until after the meat has marinated to add the salt – it’s a great addition that adds depth to the marinade.
I served it with baked potatoes and roasted red peppers – all from the farmer’s market.
Mint Marinated Lamb Chops
adapted from Best of the Best, vol. 11
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup mint
4-6 lamb chops, 2 inches thick
salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine vinegar, sugar, and mint leaves into a blender or food processor. Blend until the mint is finely chopped.
2. Let lamb chops marinate in mixture for 10-20 minutes at room temperature.
3. Turn broiler on. Sprinkle salt on each side right and cook lamb chops for 6-8 minutes per side, until medium-rare.