Seared Lamb Chops, Crispy Polenta

Every few weeks, some friends and I get together for small dinner parties where we each made a dish. The quality of food is pretty great and I’m always eager to impress. On the menu this night were empanadas, scallops, pork belly and lamb. I can take credit for only the lamb, but they were all pretty exceptional. Click below for the recipe for my lamb dish.

Flambe-ing the scallops by adding alcohol. The alcohol cooks off, creating some flames, but still adds flavor.

Sauteed Zucchini and Eggplant. I used the vegetables that I still had from apple picking the week before and the contrast in colors looked really nice on the plate.

Seared scallops after the flambe process.

These toasted pistachios were the garnish for the lamb dish.

Final plate for the pork belly dish with heirloom beans, brussel sprouts and compressed apples.

Final plate for the scallop dish with brussel sprouts, crispy proscuitto and hazelnuts.

1 rack of lamb (Because we were serving multiple courses, I chose to serve one chop per person but I would usually plan on serving 2-3 chops per person)
extra virgin olive oil
1 cup polenta
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cups comte cheese (Parmigianno Reggiano works well too)
1 large eggplant
1 large zucchini
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup pistachios, toasted and chopped
2 cups lamb stock
1 shallot, chopped

1. Marinate lamb chops in olive oil, rosemary and thyme. Let sit 8 hours, or overnight.
2. Heat pan with a neutral oil such of canola oil. Season chops generously with salt and pepper on both sides. When the pan is just starting to smoke, add chops without crowding the pan. When golden brown, after about 2 minutes, turn and sear the other side of the chops. Cook about another 2 minutes until medium rare.
1. Bring water and salt to a boil.
2. Gradually stir in polenta. Reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring frequently until mixture is very thick, about 30 minutes.
3. Stir in butter, then cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Pour polenta into a sheet tray so mixture is about 1/4 inch thick. The polenta should hold its shape enough to cut out round pieces but if it is still somewhat runny, you can bake it in a 350 degree oven until it firms up.
5. Heat a pan with neutral oil until almost smoking. Cut out 2 inch rounds from polenta. Fry polenta rounds in oil until crispy on both sides, about 1 minute each side.
Zucchini + Eggplant
1. Cut vegetables in macedoine.
2. Heat a pan with olive oil until almost smoking.
3. Add vegetables, season and cook until tender, about 7 minute. Drain on paper towels.
1. Sweat shallots in butter until soft.
2. Add lamb stock, reduce by half. Strain.


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