Wednesday, June 16, 2010

grilled lamb chops with gorgonzola butter/salad with dried cranberries and candied walnuts

My mom and I prepared this dinner a couple of weeks ago in honor of my dad's birthday. The recipe came together rather serendipitously after we shopped for the ingredients. My dad had asked for lamb, so that was all we had to go on initially. We picked some beautiful little chops at King Kullen, and talked out the rest of the meal on our way through the store. We decided on baked potatoes and a nice red leaf lettuce salad with dried cranberries and walnuts. On our way past the cheese section, I also decided to pick up some gorgonzola, which dad loves. So do I, for that matter.

Anyway, upon our return home, we decided to look online for tips on grilling the lamb. I figured I'd just find a simple marinade or something, but I found so much more when I quickly turned up this recipe for grilled lamb chops with gorgonzola butter. Since we had just bought the cheese, everything else just fell into place. Don't you just love that?

gorgonzola buttered lamb chops and potatoes

We did marinate the lamb for an hour or two with some olive oil, minced shallots and garlic, and salt and pepper. The recipe also called for rosemary, which definitely would have been nice, but my mom has some strange aversion to it so we left that out.

That was the boring part. The fun part was sauteing shallots and garlic in butter, and beating them together with a stick of butter, gorgonzola cheese, minced parsley, a healthy amount of cracked black pepper and a little olive oil and lemon juice. After this was one gooey mass, I rolled it into a log, covered it in plastic wrap, and stuck it in the freezer to firm up before dinner.

My dad took over grilling duties, and cooked the lamb to perfection. Each chop was topped with a healthy schmear of the gorgonzola mixture, which melted like, well, butter. It was both delicate and decadent. We also slathered it on our baked potatoes. Delicious, but definitely too rich for regular consumption. It was without a doubt a birthday type of meal.

Like the lamb, the salad was easy and delicious. I tore up some red leaf lettuce, crumbled up some of the gorgonzola, and tossed in a hefty handful of craisins. The only even slightly tricky part was preparing the walnuts, which I decided, in a fit of inspiration, to candy. According to the recipe I used, all you have to do is heat some sugar in a saucepan, add walnuts as it melts, and stir to coat the nuts in sugar. It worked nicely, but I was fairly stingy in the amount of sugar I used since I didn't want a whole lot of extra melty sugar and nothing to use it on. I probably could have done with a spoonful more and been better for it. I think we just used a balsamic vinegrette as a dressing, but regardless this salad was fantastic. So light and fresh and fruity!

a fabulous salad with pungent cheese, crunchy nuts and delicious fruit!

It was all in all a very nice dinner, although it was lucky Nathan was not around for it. First of all, he is crazy and thinks neither fruit nor nuts have any place in salads. Also, we had just enough chops for the four of us, and there weren't any more at the store. Boyfriend would have had to settle for a cheaper, inferior cut of lamb, haha.

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