Lamb steaks served with minty egg noodles and pickled red onions. TNS
Lamb shoulder chops are an oft-overlooked dinner option that I think should be on your table more often. Saddle chops (those mini T-bones), too expensive. Shoulder chops, however, are cheaper and more flavorful than beef steaks. They take strong flavors well, and they cook up quickly: a perfect weeknight meat.
I serve the chops (or steaks, both are the same thing) with simple egg noodles dressed in a lemon and chopped mint both for herbal freshness and because, however cliche, I can’t have lamb without it.
ANCHOVY-MARINATED LAMB SHOULDER CHOPS WITH MINTY NOODLES
1 hour, plus marinating. Serves 4.
1 (2-ounce) tin olive oil-packed anchovies
2 almond-size garlic cloves
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
3 doorknob-size lemons
4 (8- to 10-ounce) lamb shoulder steaks or chops
1/4 medium red onion, very thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 pounds extra-wide egg noodles (the type you’d get for chicken noodle soup)
2 cups lightly packed mint leaves
1. Marinate the lamb steaks: Lift the anchovies from the tin and place them on a cutting board with the garlic. Pour the oil from the tin into a large bowl (you should get about 1 tablespoon). Roughly chop the anchovies and garlic together, then sprinkle them with a pinch of salt. Continue chopping and mashing the anchovies and garlic together with the salt until they form a uniform paste. Scrape the paste into the bowl with the anchovy oil. Add the 1 tablespoon olive oil and the chile flakes, and season with black pepper. Finely grate the zest from 2 lemons and stir it into the anchovy-garlic paste; reserve the zested lemons.
2. Place the lamb steaks in the bowl or a zip-top plastic bag and scrape the paste on top. Use your hands to toss the steaks with the paste in the bowl until evenly coated, or close the bag and massage the paste all over the steaks. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
3. While the steaks marinate, squeeze a quarter-cup juice from the 2 zested lemons and pour into a small bowl. Add the onions and toss to coat. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill the onions while they pickle, about 15 minutes. Remove the lamb steaks from the refrigerator to take the chill off them before cooking.
4. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Remove the bowl of onions from the fridge and, while holding the onions in place with one hand, drain off and pour the chilled, millennial-pink lemon juice into a large bowl; return the onions to the fridge. Add the noodles to the boiling water, and cook until al dente, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the noodles, then transfer to the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss to coat them well. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside a quarter-cup mint leaves, then place the rest on a cutting board and roughly chop. Add the chopped mint to the noodles and toss to combine.
5. Set up a charcoal grill for direct heat or heat a gas grill over high. (Alternatively, heat a large skillet or grill pan over high heat.) Remove the steaks from the bag or bowl and place on the grill and cook undisturbed for 4 minutes. Flip the steaks and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare doneness. Remove the steaks from the grill and transfer to a platter. Loosely tent the platter with foil and let the steaks rest for 10 minutes.
6. While the steaks rest, transfer the noodles to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining quarter-cup mint leaves followed by the chilled pickled onions. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges and serve alongside the lamb steaks with minty noodles.
Tribune News Service
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