Lamb Chops with Chimichurri and Addictive Asparagus
Juicy, meaty lamb chops sizzled in olive oil and served alongside asparagus festooned with bacon, pine nuts and bright citrus flavors scream Spring; the perfect dish for a stress-free dinner party or the star of your Easter or Passover table.
4-6lamb loin chops3/4 inch thickness
1/2teaspoonthymemint or rosemary
For the asparagus:
4ouncespancettacut into 3/8 inch to 1/4 inch dice*
1poundasparaguswoody ends trimmed and sliced diagonally into 2 inch pieces
1 1/4cupsleekthinly sliced crosswise (white and pale green parts only)
Zest of one lemon
2tablespoonstoasted pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the Chimichurri Sauce:
¾cupfruity extra virgin olive oil
¼teaspoonfreshly cracked black pepper
1Tablespoonred wine vinegar
½cuppacked fresh Italian flat leaf parsley- chopped
1cloveof fresh garlic-minced
Prepare chimichurri sauce: Combine all ingredients in a glass jar. Shake well to blend. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Prepare the asparagus: In a large non-stick pan, sauté pancetta, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until crisp and lightly golden. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan. Add asparagus pieces and leek and sauté until asparagus is tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, lemon and orange zest, toasted pine nuts and parsley and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and salt and serve immediately.
For the lamb chops: Season the lamb with salt* and pepper and sprinkle lightly with thyme. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the lamb chops and cook over moderately high heat until the chops are browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn the chop sand cook until the chops are browned, another 2-3 minutes longer for medium doneness.Transfer the chops to individual plates or, for family style, arrange around the asparagus on a platter. Drizzle with Chimichurri sauce.