Author Notes: I had lamb chops. I had tea. (I always do). I thought I could combine the two in a flavorful dry rub. Something was missing so I added garlic, blended once more and ended up with a flavorful damp rub. If you prefer less smoke, (or have a brand-new box of smoked tea) use regular salt and paprika in place of the smokey ones, and/or black tea such as Oolong instead of Lapsang Souchong. You want a good whiff of smoke but you want the other flavors to sound out as well. - creamtea
For the spice rub
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 Lapsang Souchong or Oolong teabags (3 tablespoons loose tea)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground smoked sea salt (or plain sea salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- pinches sea salt
- 2 medium cloves fresh garlic, mashed with the flat side of a knife then coarsely chopped
- 3 lamb shoulder chops, 1-inch thick, with round bone
- Lightly toast cumin using a non-coated skillet (actually I use a long-handled 1-1/2 cup stainless measure). This should take only a few seconds. When fragrant, empty into bowl of a small food-processor or spice grinder.
- Add next 7 ingredients and start motor, shaking occasionally to assure that the blade grinds the seeds and tea leaves. You don't want a powder; there should still be some texture.
- Add garlic and process to a dampish dry paste; empty into a prep bowl.
- Pat chops dry with a paper towel and coat with the spice mixture, pressing in to be sure it adheres. Marinate at least one hour, refrigerated, but remove about 1/2 hour before cooking.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high flame. Add a small amount of oil and film it over the skillet with a folded paper towel. When skillet is hot but not smoking, add chops, making sure not to crowd the pan. Weight with a steak-weight to avoid buckling. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, adjusting heat as necessary to avoid scorching. When chop is ready to flip, it should release easily from the pan.
- Serve hot.
For the lamb chops