“So how do you like your steak done?” I asked the group watching my demo two weeks ago at Salon du Blog in France as I made my first dish of steak sandwiches with a Cashel Blue butter. “They like it rare,” said Bernadette, our translator, driver, sous chef and all-round helper for the weekend from the Bord Bia Paris office. “I was going to tell you to take it off the pan a minute ago.” Considering the steaks had only been cooking for two minutes at that point, she wasn’t kidding when she said the French like their beef rare. Yet even cooking the steaks for just a few minutes, I still somehow managed to set off the smoke alarms throughout the catering college (ahem).
After a lovely lunch at Galeries Lafayette and a shopping trip at Le Bon Marché in Paris to stock up on some supplies, we had a few hiccups in Soissons, the town 100 km outside of Paris where Salon du Blog was held, starting when we arrived at our hotel on Friday night only to discover that they’d lost our reservation for that night in a town where hundreds of bloggers had booked out all the rooms (we eventually managed to get two rooms between the four of us). In the morning, the blogger who was supposed to do a demo before us blew the fuses to our oven unit with his deep fat fryer, we had a hard time finding pans that worked on the fancy induction hob and there was that small matter of the smoke alarms. But as one of my friends said this weekend when I was telling her all about it, at least it makes for a good story now. And besides, it didn’t stop us from cooking some fantastic Irish food for the French food bloggers who came to see us in Bord Bia’s room, where I served those steak sandwiches, mussels with bacon, leeks and Irish whiskey and these lamb chops. Seeing as how one of the French bloggers sent me a tweet after we got back saying that she was buying lamb chops so she could make this recipe, I’d say the demos were a success, smoke alarm notwithstanding.
This is a perfect recipe for a dinner party because you can prep the chops ahead of time, where they’ll happily keep in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them. (Or if you’re making them in a cooking demo, it gives you that I’ve-always-wanted-to-say-that excuse to say, “And here’s one I made earlier.”)
Mustard and Herb Lamb Chops with Honey Dressing
adapted from Catherine’s Family Kitchen by Catherine Fulvio
Catherine Fulvio suggests serving this lamb with champ, a traditional Irish potato dish of mashed potatoes with scallions, but regular mashed potatoes would work just as well. French trimmed lamb chops is simply a rack of lamb cut into individual chops. If you can’t get or don’t care for wholegrain mustard, use Dijon instead.
for the lamb:
200 g (2 cups) fresh breadcrumbs
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon very finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons seasoned flour
12 lamb cutlets/chops, French trimmed (get your butcher to do this for you)
3 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon honey
extra virgin olive oil
for the dressing:
4 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon clear honey (or more to taste)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the dressing, combine the mustard, oil, honey, vinegar and salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
To prepare the chops, combine the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and rosemary in a bowl. Place the seasoned flour on a plate. Dip the chops into the flour, shaking off the excess. Mix the mustard and honey together in a small bowl, then spread the honey mustard on both sides of each chop. Finally, dip the chops into the rosemary breadcrumbs, pressing firmly. Allow to set in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes.
Heat some oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, sear the lamb chops on both sides to colour, turning carefully to ensure the crumb coating doesn’t fall off. Reduce the heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cutlets, or until the meat is cooked to taste. You might need to add more oil to the pan as you cook the chops in batches — or even just in between flipping them over — since the breadcrumbs tend to soak it up. Remove from the pan, drizzle the dressing over the chops and serve.