Lamb Chops with Sardinian Fregola and Mint Pesto (Abbacchio)
June 18, 2010
Chef Victor Casanova perfectly pairs his spicy grilled lamb chops with small balls of refreshing mint pesto fregola.
FOR THE MINT PESTO:
3 cups fresh mint leaves
2 garlic cloves
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 tbsp. Pecorino Romano, grated
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. marcona almonds
Sicilian salt, to taste
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (we recommend DaVero Dry Creek Estate)
1/2 cup ice cubes, as needed
FOR THE PIMENTÓN OIL:
3 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp pimenton
1/2 tsp. sea salt
FOR THE FREGOLA:
1 lb. Sardinian fregola
1 carrot, finely minced
1 stalk of celery, finely minced
1 shallot, finely minced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
4 tbsp. currants
2 tbsp. marcona almonds, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
6. Strain, reserving 1 cup of water for later use, then lightly toss with olive oil and reserve on a half sheet pan at room temperature.
7. In a small rondeau, turn heat to low and add 3-4 tbsp. olive oil to coat the pan. Add carrot, celery, garlic, and shallot.
8. Cook on low to medium heat until the mixture is blond and well developed. About 5-10 minutes. Raise the heat slightly and add almonds and currants, then mix in well. When the currants are nice and plump, add fregola. Add 1 cup of pasta water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Season to taste and reserve.
9. For the lamb chops: Heat the grill. Season all lamb chops with salt and pepper. Cook the lamb chops on the grill to medium rare and reserve.
10. To asemble: Put 4 dinner plates in an oven set at 350° for 2 minutes then bring to countertop. In the center of each plate, add 3 tbsp. of the fregola. Then top with the 4 lamb chops, drizzle the lamb with the pimenton oil, and add about 1 tbsp. of mint pesto around the perimeter of the plate.