Grilled Lamb Chops with Olive Tapenade Herb Crust

The beauty of this dish is the crust made from fresh herbs. I learned to make this recipe while working for Thomas Henkelmann, the famous chef-owner of the Homestead Inn in Greenwich, Connecticut.
By Chef David Robertson, The Dirty Apron

Serves 4

Ingredients

Olive and sun-dried tomato tapenade

  • 1/2 Cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/2 Cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1 Garlic Clove, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/4 Lemon 

Herb Panko

  • 1/2 Cup panko crumbs
  • 1 Cup loosely packed mixed herbs (parsley, basil and chives)

Lamb Chops

  • 8 lamb chops, each 2 oz
  • 4 Tbsp herb panko 

Directions

Olive and sun-dried tomato tapenade

Place the olives, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in a small food processor and process until the mixture is smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin steady stream until the mixture forms a thick, smooth paste (adding the oil slowly prevents the tapenade from separating). Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Herb panko

Place the herbs in a food processor and process until the mixture is finely chopped. Add the panko and blend until the mixture turns green. Set aside. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.

Lamb chops

Preheat a grill on high heat and the oven to 400°F. Season the lamb with salt and pepper, then place the chops on the grill and cook quickly on each side until slightly rare, about 1 minute per side.

Remove the lamb from the grill and spread one side of each chop with 1 Tbsp of the olive tapenade. Spread the tapenade evenly, then sprinkle 1/2 Tbsp of the herb panko mixture overtop.

Set the lamb chops on a small baking tray and bake until the chops are cooked to your liking, 6 to 7 minutes for medium-rare of 7-8 minutes for medium. (To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the meat; it should read between 130°F and 135°F for medium-rare.)

Chef's Note: If you don't have the time to prepare the olive tapenade, use Dijon mustard as a tasty alternative.

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