Recipe: Chimichurri sauce with a Lebanese twist, spring lamb chops and fresh asparagus by Chef Charlie Abowd
Despite feeling like perpetual winter, all the signs of spring are showing. Daffodils and crocus are beginning to make their appearance and the much needed rain combined with warmer days sandwiched between extreme cold spells are part of what we expect in Northern Nevada.
As a chef, this season also brings to market two of my favorite things: spring lamb and wild chinook salmon. Today, I will be sharing one of my favorite lamb dishes that can be served either family style or plated individually. Borda family lamb can be found at Bently Ranch Butcher Shop, 1350 Buckeye Road, Minden.
Make a nice day trip by adding a visit to the newly opened Bently Heritage Estate Distillery, 1601 Water St., Minden.
Before we get cooking, I would like all of you to reserve July 10 and get online to purchase your tickets for the 11th annual Concert Under the Stars, benefiting the Greenhouse Project.
Thanks to the generosity of owner Tom Duncan, the concert is moving this year to Eagle Valley Golf Course. It’s there for the first time, TGP will host three legendary bands in the biggest event yet as we welcome POCO, Pure Prairie League and Firefall to Carson City for an evening of nonstop hits.
Since its inception, TGP has provided agriculture education to our areas students and hasn’t only rebirthed an ag program at Carson High School that had gone defunct in 2000 but has produced one of the most accomplished FFA ag teams in the nation. Many of our students, including those with learning challenges, have gone on to employment in the new ag economy, taking with them their knowledge of the latest growing techniques, leadership and business skills.
TGP, in collaboration with Carson Tahoe Hospital, has continued to expand operations at the Healing Garden site on the hospital campus. Both the sites produce fresh produce that’s distributed to the community’s food insecure, including Meals on Wheels for our senior citizens and to Eagle Valley Children’s Home, as well as others. Hunger, as we know, is a cross-generational concern, and TGP continues its mission 11 years strong, growing, giving and teaching for a healthier and greener community.
Tickets for the concert go on sale by the end of March, all proceeds of which support TGP’s important work are offered with price points for every budget — $30, $49 and $75, available online at http://www.carsoncitygreenhouse.org. Tickets for limited Table on the Green seating, which includes a fully catered dinner provided this year by Blend Catering, are available at Cafe at Adele’s for $175. Eight sponsorship tents also remain, and auction items, especially those that offer bidders an “experience,” as well as volunteers (including drivers for the bands) for the event are also sought. For information about any of those, please call my dear wife, Karen, at 775-232-8626.
I look forward to seeing everyone there, in what promises to be our best and biggest event yet.
So now, let’s get cooking!
Today I am providing recipes for chimichurri sauce with a Lebanese twist, spring lamb chops and fresh asparagus, perfect for any occasion.
18 lamb chops (allow three per person and add three additional per serving as needed)
1/2 C. Pine nuts (for garnish)
1 fresh lemon
Asparagus (as many bundles as needed)
1 Head of garlic (six cloves and 8 is okay, too!)
1/2 C. extra-virgin olive oil
2 C. mint leaves (remove from stems)
1/2 C. cilantro leaves (remove from stems)
4 T. white wine vinegar
1/4 t. red chili pepper
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper
Place peeled garlic and olive oil in food processor or blender and pulse until garlic is fine chopped. Add mint, cilantro and white wine vinegar and pulse until you have a nice, creamy puree. Add red chili pepper, salt and pepper. Pulse and taste to check spices, adding more if needed.
Sauce should never be cooked or touched by heat as this will affect the brightness of the flavor profile.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and, when ready, place pine nuts lightly coated with olive oil, in a baking pan and lightly toast in oven, approximately 12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Set aside as these will be used for garnish.
Lamb chops can be cooked on the grill or broiled.
For the sake of this recipe, each chop should be about 1 1/2-inch thick.
My rule of thumb to achieve perfect results is 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Add 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side for medium and an additional 1 to 1/2 minutes beyond that for medium well.
Grill or steam fresh local or California asparagus, seasoned with salt and pepper.
Once lamb chops are done, either plate family-style on a large platter or on individual plates. Put a squeeze of lemon juice on top of each chop. Then, using a teaspoon, top with a dollop of Chimichurra Sauce, and finish by sprinkling with 1 t. toasted pinenuts. Serve with asparagus.
A perfect pairing for this meal is a Meiomi wine, available at Ben’s Fine Wine & Spirits.