Chunky Sweet Pea, Pistachio, and Mint Pesto with Lamb Rib Chops

By • March 20, 2013 0 Comments

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Author Notes: I started putting sweet garden peas in my regular basil pesto as a way to eliminate some of the oil. I figured the moisture from the pureed peas would replace the lubricating power of the olive oil and while that did happen, I also found that I liked the taste better. The peas gave the pesto a slight sweetness that goes great on pasta, chicken, and even pizza. With Easter approaching I started to think a lot about lamb, which led me to thinking about pistachios (since that's the number one thing people are always crusting their lamb with) and mint, naturally. A mint and pistachio pesto started to sound like a great twist on the usual lamb duos. Since I love peas in my pesto and peas are a spring staple often relegated to the side of lamb's plate, I thought I'd let them shine in this pesto.

Fair warning, this isn't a creamy pesto. It is quite chunky and doesn't run or spread the way a pesto sauce does. If you prefer a smoother sauce, process the garlic, peas, and nuts in the first step longer. You might also have to increase the oil to as much as 1 cup and adjust salt/pepper to taste.
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Serves 2

Sweet Pea, Pistachio, and Mint Pesto

  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
  • 1 handful parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup whole, shelled pistachios
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup frozen sweet garden peas, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon wedge
  1. In the bowl of a mini food processor pulse garlic, pistachios and peas a few times.
  2. Add mint and parsley and pulse a a few more times. Scrape down the edges of the processor with a rubber spatula.
  3. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon wedge, add oil, and pulse until combined. If your mini processor has a feed tube (which I'm not sure that any do) you should slowly add the oil through the tube while it's running. This isn't really necessary though.
  4. Finally add the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and pulse a few more times.
  5. Serve dollops on top of lamb chops.

Pan Seared Lamb Rib Chops

  • 6 lamb rib chops
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, about 3 cloves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  1. Mix parsley, garlic, oil, salt and pepper in shallow baking dish large enough to hold all the chops laying flat.
  2. Coat the chops with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 12.
  3. Remove marinating lamb from fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
  4. Heat cast iron pan on high heat.
  5. Scrape off as much of the marinade as possible from the lamb chops, being sure to remove all garlic. You do not want that to be on the chops while they're searing.
  6. Add a bit of canola oil to the pan, when shimmering add 3 chops and sear for 3 minutes on one side.
  7. Using tongs, stand the chops on flat, narrow edge opposite the bone and sear for 1 minute. You'll need two hands to get each of the chops to stand, but then you can squeeze them all together one-handed with the tongs as you hold them in place for that minute.
  8. Sear chops on the other side for another 3 minutes.
  9. Place chops on a plate to rest while you repeat with the remaining 3 chops.
  10. Let the last chops rest a few minutes before serving.

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