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Author Notes: I'm obsessed with fennel pollen so this recipe is another excuse to use it along with tiny lamb chops from the farm up the road and the season's first white asparagus. These last are prepared in the traditional German manner, something I picked up from the all-white-asparagus menus at Hans Röckenwagner's LA restaurants. —gluttonforlife
Fennel-Dusted Spring Lamb Chops
- 1 teaspoon green peppercorns, finely ground
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and finely ground
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 6 baby lamb loin chops
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons fennel pollen
- Combine ground peppercorns, fennel seeds, lemon zest and garlic in a small bowl. Rub chops all over with lemon juice and then the spices. Place in a shallow dish, cover and refrigerate for a few hours. Bring back to room temperature before cooking.
- Scrape chops clean. Shower with sea salt on both sides and dust with fennel pollen on only one. Sear in a hot, heavy skillet glossed with olive oil, pollen side down, for about 2-3 minutes. Turn and finish cooking another couple of minutes. Serve on a bed of poached white asparagus. Berna’s Savory Grapefruit Sabayon would be a nice addition on the side.
Poached White Asparagus
- 4 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 pound white asparagus
- In a large, heavy pot combine salt, lemon juice, butter and sugar. Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, trim about ½” from the asparagus ends. Lay them flat on a work surface and peel with a sharp vegetable peeler, starting about 1 ½” from the top and running down the whole length. If you do this in midair, they may snap. Gather the spears into 2 bundles and tie them loosely with kitchen string before lowering them into the simmering water.
- Increase the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook the asparagus until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 10 minutes for slim spears and up to 30 if yours are really thick. Lift the bundles from the water with kitchen tongs and drain them on paper towels. Slather with a little more salted butter before serving.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spring Lamb