LOS ANGELES, September 27, 2012 ― Around this time of year the baskets of figs start showing up in our grocery stores in Los Angeles. If you aren’t already a fan, figs are an interesting fruit that take a bit of getting used to. They are sweet, earthy, and have an interesting mouth feel. At first bite you tear through the delicate (if ripe) skin of the fig and into the meat, which is a combination of sweet, soft meat that’s slightly stringy with tiny seeds.
The sweet and earthy flavor of the fig is perfect for lamb. When I was a child, mint jelly was always served with lamb because of its sweet flavor. Now I use the same idea but with new ingredients like the fig.
Rosemary Mint Lamb Chops with Seasonal Fig Compote
Servings - 6 people; Time - one hour.
- 12 lamb chops of equal size
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch rosemary
- 1 bunch mint
- 3 shallots
- 16-20 purple figs (reserve 6 for garnish)
- 1/8 cup water
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- In a large bag or bowl mix together ¼ cup of red wine, 2 tbsp olive oil, and 2 sprigs of both rosemary and mint lightly chopped and 1-½ shallots roughly chopped. Mix everything together well and set aside.
- Rinse and dry the lamb. Add it to the marinade and let stand for 1-3 hours for best result. Make sure the marinade is spread over each lamb chop.
- Wash the figs and remove the stems. Dice into a very small bits and set aside.
- Mince the remaining shallots and sauté them in a pan with 2 teaspoons olive oil until they begin to caramelize.
- Add the figs and water to the saucepot, season with salt. Cook the figs down until they’re beginning to turn into a paste.
- Deglaze with ¼ cup of red wine and the red wine vinegar. Cook on medium low heat until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Set aside.
- Bring the lamb chops out 30-45 minutes before you cook, and allow them to rise to room temperature for the best cooking results.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
- In a large sauté pan add the remaining olive oil, and once it is hot add the lamb chops presentation side down. Sear on medium high heat for 5-6 minutes or until a beautiful golden brown has formed on the presentation side of the lamb chop. You may need to use the back of the spoon to slightly press down on the meat to ensure an even browning. The bone can cause some areas to remain untouched by the pan, which leaves you with gray meat.
- Once they’re brown, flip the chops and place them in the oven for a remaining 5-6 minutes or until the blood is rising to the top for medium rare
- Let rest for a few minutes uncovered.
- Reheat the fig compote while the meat is resting and serve with the lamb chops. Garnish with sliced fresh figs, chopped rosemary and mint leaves.
Best served with kale and wild rice pilaf.
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