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Lamb chops with chilli & Ligurian broad bean pesto

Date:


Impress dinner guests with these lightly spiced lamb chops served on a bed of broad bean pesto. Serve with fennel fronds, a drizzle of olive oil and lemon

Ingredients

  • 12 lamb cutlets, the bones well scraped so they’re neat (you can ask your butcher to do this for you)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ lemon , juiced, plus wedges to serve
  • 6 tsp chilli flakes (use less if you prefer less heat)

For the pesto

  • 400g broad beans (podded weight, about 1.4kg unpodded)
  • 2 garlic cloves , chopped
  • 8 mint sprigs, leaves picked and torn, plus extra to serve
  • 8 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • ½ small fennel bulb
  • 120-150ml extra virgin olive oil , plus 2 tbsp and extra to serve
  • 2 tbsp pecorino , grated
  • ½ lemon , juiced or to taste

Method

  • STEP 1

    Put the chops in a large bowl with the olive oil, lemon juice, chilli and some black pepper. Turn them with your hands, cover and put in the fridge to marinate for a few hours.

  • STEP 2

    Shell the broad beans and cook them in boiling water for 2-3 mins until tender. Drain and rinse in cold water. Slip each bean out of its skin, put them in the bowl of a food processor and add the garlic, mint and anchovy fillets. Remove any fronds from the fennel and set them aside with the tips. Take off any coarse outer layer, split the fennel in half and remove the hard core from each piece. Discard these. Chop the flesh and the reserved fennel trimmings. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a small frying pan and fry the fennel flesh gently for 10 mins until soft.

  • STEP 3

    Tip the fennel into the food processor along with the cheese and a little seasoning. Blitz to a purée while pouring in 120ml of the olive oil. Taste and add the lemon juice. You might find you want a bit more olive oil as well, or a little water to produce a thinner consistency. Remember to season again if you add water. Scrape the purée into a bowl and keep covered in the fridge until you’re ready to serve, but let it come to room temperature before you cook the chops.

  • STEP 4

    Take the chops out of the fridge and bring to room temperature. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Lift the chops out of the marinade and, when the pan is really hot, cook until well coloured on each side, seasoning as you go. Press the meaty bit down so that they get good griddle marks. The chops should be pink in the middle when you serve them – they only take 1½ mins on each side as they’re so small. Do this in batches if you need to.

  • STEP 5

    Serve the chops on top of the purée with some mint scattered over, any reserved fennel fonds, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some lemon wedges on the side.

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