Lamb Chops with Cumin Pesto
(Paleo; no gluten, dairy, egg, nightshades or legumes)
Finger-licking and succulent. The marinade or its mixing with the meat can be done well in advance. Prep on the night is therefore quick and easy. I’ve tried this on the grill and the barbeque. Although good, this pan fried version has the best flavour. Serve with potato or kumara wedges and salad. Or with mixed steamed veg (eg cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, chopped garlic) tossed with more olive oil and sea salt with kelp. Guests rave about these vegetable combos, yet they couldn’t be simpler.
This meal is low in starchy carbs with lots of inflammation-quenching antioxidants from the vegetables, herbs and spices. New Zealand lamb is a top source of protein, iron, zinc, many B vitamins and thanks to being free-range contains Omega 3. Cuts of meat including fat and bones have more flavour and more nutrients. The fat on the chops also helps with the absorption of vitamins ADEK, such as found in some of the vegetables. A good meal is balanced in colour, taste, texture – and nutrients.
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
½ medium onion
juice and peel or 1 lemon
¼ cup parsley
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil*
1 large garlic clove
1 tsp sea salt with kelp*
8 medium lamb loin chops
Place the cumin seeds in a sturdy frypan (no need for oil) and toast over medium heat. Stir frequently about 3 minutes until brown and fragrant. Watch carefully or they can burn.
Place the seeds in a food processor with onion, lemon, parsley, oil, garlic and salt. Process until mostly smooth and pesto-like. Pour half into a glass dish just large enough to hold the chops in 1 layer. Place the lamb chops on top and cover with the remaining pesto. Cover with a lid and marinate overnight or up to 2 days.
20 minutes before cooking, bring meat to room temperature (this helps make it tender). Heat a large cast iron frypan over medium heat with a tiny bit of extra oil. Add the chops and marinade. Cook briskly, uncovered 4-5 minutes on each side until browned. Remove from heat and keep warm for 2 minutes (resting meat also helps tenderness). Serve.
Shopping and Preparation Tips*
• Olive Oil: extra virgin olive oil is achieved by using cold mechanical pressure rather than the high heat and chemical solvents typical to most supermarket oils. These practices damage oils and the people who eat them. For information on which fats to choose for which purpose and why, see my TIPS article: The Fats of Life.
• Sea Salt: is sea water dehydrated by sun. When mixed with seaweed or kelp (containing iodine and other minerals low in our soil) it is ideal in terms of flavour (interesting but not too strong) and mineral balance. Try Pacific Harvest or Malcolm Harker brands; both in health and gourmet stores. NOTE these are less salty in taste than other brands. Ordinary salt is taken from mines or sea and so highly refined over extreme heat that it contains nothing but sodium chloride. All other minerals are stripped away, such as potassium and magnesium which help regulate fluid balance and blood pressure. Bleach as a whitener and chemicals to prevent clumping may be added to table salt.