Ode to Spring (lamb chops with fresh vegetables)
Yes, the winter seems to have released its grip on France and we even had a good week of sunshine before the sky turned greyish again. The result was noticeable on the town market as fresh seasonal vegetables appeared on the stalls, from French regions and not from Africa or Spain.
I had bought lamb chops from a farmer/butcher near Neufchatel-en-Bray in Normandy and combined this with young carrots and green peas.
Strictly speaking, the peas are nearing the end of their season while the carrots are just getting their turn.
Peas are loaded with nutrients and so are carrots, but not with the same goodies
Ingredients (for two)
- Four lamb chops
- A bunch of young carrots
- Half a kilo of green peas
- Three cloves of garlic
- Vegetable stock
- Pepper and salt
- Olive oil
- Wash the carrots, cut the green but leave a small part. You can skin them with a knife, I used a special glove to rub most of the earth from the outside while keeping the skin as this contains vitamins.
- Take the peas from the pods. During my training for gastronomic cooking, we took the skins from the pods to end up with two half peas. This is a very fastidious task for a home cook . It makes the peas more edible for some and the taste and bite experience is enhanced. But you may way the cost of time against the advantage in taste; you may also need more peas.
- Slice the garlic.
- Dry the chops on kitchen paper.
- Take a steamer pan (in my case I put a steamer lid on a regular pan filled with water). Use vegetable stock for liquid to make the steam, I added a sachet of Ariake vegetable stock to the water.
- First steam the carrots for 20 minutes and take them out to cool. Once they can be handled, you could now easily remove the skins for a bright orange colour but the vitamin in the skin argument still applies.
- Then steam the peas for 10 to 15 minutes, taste for the bite.
- Meanwhile, put some olive oil in a skillet and heat it until it nearly smokes (you will see the oil retreating and leaving a drier spot in the middle), add the chops and fry them for five minutes on both sides, then add the garlic and pepper and fry again for five minutes on each side if you want your chops ‘rosé’, or add another five to 10 minutes when you want them well-done.
- At the end, ladle some of the vegetable stock from the steamer over the meat at high heat, turn again and remove the chops to a side platter.
- Add some more liquid to the skillet and let it reduce, then set aside.
- Assemble the vegetables and chops on a serving plate (or plates) and add the garlic to the chops, pouring some of the reduced liquid over the meat as well.