The hunter gatherer in me prefers to dine on lots of little dishes. I find this method of cooking especially suited to the holidays since you can cook as much of any dish that you need. It’s great for when people just pop in for a visit only, you are enjoying their company so much that they stay for a meal too – a quick throw together because of all the other holiday activities.
One of my go to dishes are lamb cutlets. Racks of lamb ribs are individually cut and the bones Frenched for easy handling as finger food. This most tender and flavoursome meat is the most expensive cut, making it a special treat. Like a really special treat, especially if there are kids around who don’t appreciate how expensive they are, but do appreciate the taste. I used to sacrifice my portion to the youngest at the Christmas Tree Trimming Tapas. It’s nice now that everyone is big enough to share the dish evenly across all the guests.
All the cutlets need are a searing at a high heat and a simple sauce to bring out the flavours. You don’t want to ruin your hard earn cash cooking this too long or drowning it in a cheap sauce.
Lamb is a great food for migraineurs. It is rich in magnesium, potassium and B vitamins; which migraineurs need a boost of during stressful times like the holidays. Coupled with its high lysine to arginine ratio, it aides in chemically blocking the the nitric oxide pathway. Lamb is a great food to get onto your plate during the festive season to help keep the migraine beast at bay. Enjoy my friends.
Balsamic Lamb Cutlets
Sweet and savory mouthfuls are remarkably satisfying.
Required skills: bringing a pan to high heat and not walking away from it.
The trick with lamb cutlets is that they require 100% of your attention. Don’t worry, it’s only for between 5 and 10 minutes, but you have to be there and on it. The pan needs to be super hot so that the cutlets are flash cooked, keeping them tender and flavoursome. Just finish them off with a bit of caramelized balsamic vinegar to bring out the sweetness.
- 3-4 lamb cutlets per person
- Salt and pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Caramelized balsamic vinegar, a very good quality one
- A frying pan big enough to hold your cutlets
- Season the cutlets with salt and pepper on each side. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave on the counter to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
- Heat up your pan. Give it a gentle splash of EVOO, just a thin coat as the lamb will give off fat. Warm the pan gently on medium heat and after 3-5 minutes bring to full heat. The pan is ready just before it comes to smoking.
- Sear the cutlets, being sure to leave enough room between them so that they can breathe. You don’t want the juices to accumulate so that they stew, but rather brown off. Just as you see blood coming to the surface is when you should flip them. This should take 3-5 minutes. It only takes about 2 minutes to brown the other side. Sear the cutlets in small batches, allowing the pan to reheat between batches, moving them to a warm plate to keep the pan from becoming too crowded.
- Once all the searing is done give the final batch in the pan a good covering with caramelized balsamic vinegar. It will bubble up magically and continue to carmelized the bottoms of the cutlets. Shake the pan vigorously, add in any you are keeping warm, flip, coat and carmelize for about a minute as the cooking juices and vinegar emmulsify.
- Serve straight from the pan still bubbling, no fancy plating necessary to make this dish look good.
So my friends, what special dish do you splurge on during the holidays?