My mom says when she was little, her grandmother would set in the front porch swing in the afternoon and read cookbooks, just like she was reading a novel. I think I must be a lot like Mamaw, because my favorite thing to do on a lazy afternoon is to curl up with a pile of cookbooks and food magazines, reading through each of the recipes and dog-earing the interesting ones.
With blogs and Instagram, my hobby can get a little out of control. I can spend hours perusing blogs and food articles, envisioning meals and dinner parties. Last week, this article in the New York Times caught my eye, for a roasted leg of lamb slathered in anchovy butter. I decided to take that same concept and turn it into an easy weeknight meal, which is where this recipe was born.
I hate to admit it, but I don’t like anchovies. I want to like them, because it feels like all true food lovers do. And I’ll often order something with anchovies when I see it on a menu, thinking perhaps I just haven’t had the right anchovy yet. But I never like them.
Cooked anchovies, however, are another story. Somehow, when they are cooked with butter or olive oil, garlic and red chile flakes, they transform into a salty, nutty, umami-rich flavor. Even if you think you don’t like anchovies, you should try these lamb chops.
The recipe for the anchovy butter will make more than you need for the lamb chops. (I used the leftover butter to make a simple pasta the next night.) Just place the leftover butter on a piece of plastic wrap and roll it into a log. You can store it in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for a few months. When you’re making pasta or something that would benefit from that flavor, just cut off a slice of the butter as you need it. It would also be delicious melted on a steak.
This recipe calls for lamb loin chops, but you can substitute rib chops if you’d rather. Just a little bit of lamb packs a big flavor and nutrition punch. Lamb is lean and a source of omega-3 fatty acids. And did you know that a 3 ounce serving of lamb provides three times the amount of omega-3 fatty acid (ALA), compared to a serving of pumpkin seeds? Served with a big salad, these lamb chops make for a quick, satisfying light dinner.
I hope you enjoy these lamb chops, preferably shared with someone you love!
Grilled Lamb Chops with Anchovy Butter
Serves 4, with leftover anchovy butter
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
2 ounces anchovies, drained
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Zest of one lemon
4, 3 – 4 ounce lamb loin chops
Using a mortar and pestle, grind together the garlic and rosemary until the garlic is turned into a paste. Add the anchovies and mash those into the garlic and rosemary paste until smooth. Add the butter, red pepper flakes and lemon zest and stir together until thoroughly combined. This can be done ahead of time. See the notes in the blog post about other uses and storage for the anchovy butter.
Remove the lamb chops from the refrigerator at least an hour before you are going to grill them. This helps them to cook more evenly. Take about one teaspoon of the anchovy butter and smear it on both sides of the lamb chops.
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Place the lamb chops on the grill and cook for about 3 minutes per side for rare or 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove from the grill and let them rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. If you like, you could serve them with an additional small pat of anchovy butter melting on top. That is delicious.