Rome. Nothing say's "Rome" like lamb at Easter. It is the quintessential Roman season. Abbacchio al Scottadito, which loosely translated means lamb to burn your fingers. Rib chops hot off of a wood fire, here served over fresh spring fava beans with mint. The ingredients are simple, the favas are a pain in the butt, but I'm fussy about the wood for the grill. I use oak charcoal (mesquite is too strong---almost toxic) and I might throw on a wine barrel stave and a few branches of rosemary. Oak is typical of the wood fuel used in my home town on California's Central Coast. A softer flavor than mesquite. And I can use the local olive oils too. —pierino
Test Kitchen Notes
Very catchy title! I read the recipe through and realized how simple it is. Simplicity is not always easy (think Ted Muehling designs or Howard Backen’s houses). I used hand made oak charcoal, threw on some recent cabernet vine prunings (no barrel staves…in this economy there is a market for all our used barrels). I blanched the fresh favas and carefully shelled them. I prepped fresh local lamb from Sonoma (not from offshore or even Colorado). When the coals were very hot and flameless but smokey, I put the chops on the grill. They cooked quickly (to rare). I sprinkled the favas with olive oil, put them in a BBQ colander-like bowl and shook them over the coals until slightly colored and flavored. The chopped mint was a brilliant splash of green and flavor. I will repeat this recipe many times! - dymnyno —The Editors
1 hour 30 minutes
lamb rib chops, frenched to the bone
fresh fava beans, unshelled weight
bunch fresh mint
clove garlic, cut in half
best quality olive oil
salt and pepper
a couple of green onions or calcots (what the hell)
Have your garde manger shell and blanch the fava beans while you prepare the fire outside. Oh, that's you? Sorry. Peeling the little suckers is the tough part but it has to be done. When they are peeled blanch them in about two quarts of simmering hot water.
Use the split halves of garlic to rub all over the lamb chops. Brush them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill over that smokey wood fire.
Meanwhile chop the mint finely and toss it into the blanched favas along with more olive oil. Season and you are on your way.
To serve, spoon out the dressed favas on to each plate and then top with two lamb chops and maybe a grilled green onion. If you like add a lemon wedge.
Notes to cook: in most cases I suggest letting meat rest before serving but in this case it must come straight off of the grill, sizzling hot. The quality of the the fuel does matter. Gas grills are boring and whatever flavor is imparted is empty.
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.