Lamb Cutlets/Rib Chops with Chili and Black Olives

No one does lamb cutlets/chops better than the Italians and this recipe, which comes to me by way of the great Anna del Conte, is a case in point. The nuggets of pink meat are so tender and flavourful you just want to gnaw every morsel right off the bone. I'd keep side dishes plain - maybe some steamed new potatoes and green beans or somesuch - as this needs no attention-seeking embellishment. And I can't tell you how heavenly they are, should you be lucky enough (and it's unlikely) to have some left over, snatched cold straight from the fridge the day after.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Prep: 5 min
  • Inactive: 20 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

12 lamb rib chops

4 tablespoons/1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons, for frying

3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon chili flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 small lemon, zested and juiced

1 teaspoon Maldon salt/kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt

15 black olives, pitted and sliced

1 long red chile, deseeded and finely chopped, optional

Directions

  1. Layer the rib chops between clingfilm/cling-wrap (plastic wrap) and flatten them gently with a rolling pin or mallet. Place the chops in a large dish so that they all fit in a single layer. 
  2. Pour over the 4 tablespoons/1/4 cup of oil and add the garlic, chili, oregano, lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle over the salt and the olives and then turn the rib chops in the marinade so that both sides are coated. 
  3. Cover and leave the lamb to marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature before cooking. 
  4. Heat a large frying pan with the 2 tablespoons of oil, and add the chops scraping off the marinade before you put them in the pan. Fry them for a couple of minutes a side on quite a high heat so that they take on some color. 
  5. Turn the heat back down to medium and pour the marinade into the pan over the colored chops. Add 2 tablespoons or so of water so that they cook in a little liquid. 
  6. Cook for about 5 minutes for rare cutlets or a little longer if you like your lamb well cooked, (this will also depend on the thickness of the chops). 
  7. Transfer the lamb to a serving plate, pour over the juices from the pan and sprinkle with the chopped red chile should you feel like enhancing the dried chili with the pep of fresh.

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