Every season is marked by its produce. In the summer, peaches and tomatoes. In fall, apples and squash. Winter, roots and citrus. But spring’s range is truly something to behold. The early crops still taste of colder weather, hearty and fresh. The fruits and veggies that appear at the end of the season make June memorable: bundles of brilliant rhubarb, gardens filled with fresh herbs, and of course fields of strawberries!
Here in Western Massachusetts, this bounty appears overnight and is gone just as fast. Capturing the warmth and brightness of late spring is best done in a dish. This recipe plays to the season’s strengths, combining lush, fresh fruits with succulent lamb chops--a tribute to new growth and the coming summer. The formula of a fruit vinaigrette and red meat can also be applied broadly, using whatever is in season and a little vinegar to bring out complex flavors from richer cuts of meat. But here and now, we use it to toast warmer days ahead!
3 lamb rib chops
3 lamb loin chops
½ cup rosemary, freshly chopped (plus 2 additional sprigs)
¾ cup parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
½ cup olive oil
¾ cup strawberries, roughly chopped
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp canola oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Kosher salt, to taste
Maldon salt, to garnish
Mix the chopped rosemary, parsley, thyme, garlic, and olive oil in a large bowl. Season the lamb chops with kosher salt on both sides and add into the bowl with the herbs and olive oil, folding the mixture together and making sure every piece of lamb is totally coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and a half.
Place a skillet or heavy bottom pan on the stove on medium-high, pour in canola oil, and heat until shimmering. Wipe off each piece of lamb, and place them into the pan, cooking them in batches (you can toss the marinade at this point). Make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan--there should be about half an inch between each piece. Flip the lamb every two minutes until all sides are deep brown and an instant-read thermometer shows 125F in the thickest part of the meat. Then, remove from the pan and let rest for 15 minutes.
Once you remove the lamb from the pan, turn the stove down to medium and add in the butter. Wait for it to melt and stop bubbling, then add in the garlic and two sprigs of rosemary. Cook the sauce until it is very fragrant (3-4 minutes), stirring gently. Pour the pan sauce through a fine mesh sieve, add the chopped strawberries, honey, and red wine vinegar, and thoroughly mix it all together.
Garnish the lamb with a little Maldon salt and the strawberry-herb vinaigrette. Enjoy!