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Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Pan Seared Lamb Chops

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

 

Throughout the world the most popular Easter symbol is the lamb. The reference to lamb in Christianity goes back to the book of Genesis, When Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son. In past centuries it was considered a lucky omen to meet a lamb, especially at Easter time. It was a popular superstition that the devil, who could take the form of all other animals, was never allowed to appear in the shape of a lamb because of its religious symbolism. In the 7th century the Benedictine monks wrote a prayer for the blessing of lambs. A few hundred years later the Pope adopted it and a WHOLE roasted lamb became the feature of the Pope's Easter Dinner, and has been ever since.

Yield Serves 6

Ingredients

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried

1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

18 small lamb ribs chop, trimmed

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)

Preparation

Combine first 3 ingredients in small bowl. Rub about 1/4 teaspoon mixture over each side of each chop. Sprinkle chops with salt; place on plate. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add 9 chops to skillet; cook to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to platter; cover with foil. Repeat with remaining oil and chops. Garnish platter with rosemary sprigs, if desired.

Sun choke puree

Sun chokes are the bulbous, medium-sized tubers of the plant known botanically as Helianthus tuberous, or commonly, a variety of sunflower. The plant is propagated primarily for its root which can stay in the ground indefinitely, though it loses any culinary value if left underground too long. Native to North America, Sun chokes are one of the few vegetables to travel back to the Old World with explorers and have a lasting culinary impact. For a time, the tubers were called Jerusalem artichokes, despite being unrelated to either Jerusalem or artichokes. The name “Jerusalem artichoke” may have been a corruption of ‘Girasole Articiocco’ which is what the Sun choke is said to have been called when it was handed out from the garden of Cardinal Farnese, a favorite of the Pope. It was said that all newly discovered plants were sent to the Pope where he would give them to his friends to cultivate, one of which was Cardinal Farnese who was growing Jerusalem artichokes in 1617 in Rome. The Sun choke found popularity on the menus of famous 18th and 19th century French chefs, in particular Louis Eustache Ude, who used Sun chokes as his main ingredient in Palestine soup which is still made in French homes today.

Ingredients

8 Servings

2 1/2 pounds sun chokes 

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes or German Butterball potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter                                                  

Preparation

Fill large saucepan with water. Peel sun chokes, 1 at a time; cut into 1-inch pieces and immediately place in pan of water to prevent browning. Add potatoes; sprinkle generously with salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until sun chokes and potatoes are very tender, about 12 minutes. Drain well. Transfer sun chokes and potatoes to processor; add butter and puree until smooth. Adjust flavors to taste with salt and pepper. 

DO AHEAD; can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand uncovered at room temperature. Re-heat over medium-low heat before serving.

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well."  Check out the Chef's website and blog.

 

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