Thursday, May 23, 2013

Grilled Lamb Chops with Greek-Style Marinade

Fresh and fragrant with bright tangy flavours, a traditional Greek marinade of olive oil, garlic, fresh thyme and lemon juice must be one of the perfect partners with grilled lamb chops. Carving a rack of lamb into individual chops, and allowing the meat to marinate for a couple of hours before grilling, lets the flavours develop to produce a tender, juicy and robust summertime feast. Set on the grill for only 3 or 4 minutes per side and finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a sprinkle of corse sea salt and dried Greek oregano, this recipe is just as delicious with kebabs or butterflied leg of lamb and a dollop of tzatziki or skordalia.

Lamb marinating in oil, garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and fresh oregano

Grilled Lamb Chops with Greek-Style Marinade
Serves 2

1 rack of lamb, cut into chops
Maldon salt, lemon wedges & dried Greek oregano, for garnish

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp fresh thyme
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp fresh ground pepper

In a shallow glass baking dish, add all the marinade ingredients and stir to blend, or you can also use a small food processor to emulsify. Reserve about 1/3 of the marinade in a small bowl and set aside, for brushing the grilled lamb once cooked. Add the lamb chops to the baking dish and ensure all of the meat is coated with the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours.

Return the lamb chops to room temperature before grilling and pre-heat an outdoor grill to a high heat, so that the meat will sizzle when it hits the heat. Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper. Grill for 3 minutes per side for medium (pink inside) and brush on the reserved marinade once cooked. To serve, place the lamb chops on a platter and squeeze some lemon juice overtop, then finish with a sprinkle of Maldon salt and a little dried Greek oregano. I also like to garnish with a sprig of mint for looks.

Makes 2 1/2 cups

Cool and creamy, this tangy cucumber dip flavored with garlic is the perfect compliment to grilled meats and vegetables. It's served on the side with warm pita bread triangles for dipping, and is also used as a condiment for souvlaki.

1 pint Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice - about 1 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh dill
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth or paper towel-lined sieve and set it over a bowl. Grate the cucumber and toss it with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Place it in another sieve, and set it over another bowl. Place both bowls in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours so the yogurt and cucumber can drain.

Transfer the thickened yogurt to a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumber as you can and add the cucumber to the yogurt. Mix in the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. You can serve it immediately, but letting the tzatziki to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours allows for the flavours to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Serves 4

Skordalia is a garlicky Greek mashed potato dish often served as a dip or with grilled meats. 

9 oz russet potatoes, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 1/2 fl oz milk
3 1/2 fl oz olive oil
salt and white pepper
1 lemon, juice only
handful flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped

Place the potatoes in a heavy bottomed pan with the garlic, milk and olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place over a medium heat, bring to the boil and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Remove from the heat and drain the potatoes, reserving the cooking liquor. Place the potatoes in a food processor and blend with the lemon juice and half of the cooking liquid. Return to the saucepan and fold in the parsley. Serve with the lamb chops.