Marinated lamb chop

Lamb chops marinated in orange and garlic and served with an herb and spice sauce made in the blender. Credit: Marge Perry

Every time I make lamb chops for dinner, I wonder why we don’t have them more often. They are tasty and cooking them couldn’t be easier. You can simply throw them on a grill or under a broiler if you like, or fancy them up with a simple marinade and blender sauce, as in the recipe below.

In this case, I took five minutes in the morning to toss the lamb chops in the marinade. When I walked in the house at the end of the day, I took them out of the fridge, and 20 minutes later (after I prepared my side dishes) I was ready to cook. It was simple and efficient.

For what it’s worth, the North African chermoula sauce, a mix of fresh herbs, earthy spices, and a touch of citrus, elevates the already-delicious meat. You can choose to serve the chops with or without it, depending how much of a hurry you are in. Chermoula is also great on fish — especially meaty fish like swordfish, or fatty fish like salmon. Like the lamb chops, it is fast and easy to make — and reaps great, flavorful rewards.

MARINATED LAMB CHOPS

1 tablespoon orange zest

¼ cup orange juice

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 minced garlic cloves

¼ teaspoon black pepper

8 bone-in 1-inch thick loin lamb chops (about 2 to 2.5 pounds) 

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

OPTIONAL: 1 orange, unpeeled, cut in ¼-inch slices

1. Marinate the lamb chops: combine the orange zest and juice, olive oil, garlic and black pepper. Add the lamb chops, toss and marinate 2 to 12 hours. 

2. Remove the lamb from the marinade and pat dry; allow to sit at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes. Season with the salt.

3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Cook about 3 minutes per side, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the center (without touching the bone) registers 125 degrees. After removing the chops form the pan, add the orange slices if desired, and cook them 1 minute per side.

CHERMOULA

May be made 1 to 2 days ahead

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon paprika

Pinch cayenne

½ cup cilantro leaves

½ cup parsley leaves

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

¼ — ½ teaspoon salt

1. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium. Add the cumin, coriander, paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring, 30 seconds, until they become fragrant and toasted. Transfer to a blender.

2. Add the cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of the salt and puree. Taste and add salt if needed.