My wife and daughter went out of town to visit my wife’s family for a few days about two weeks ago.  I don’t often get these times to myself, and since my wife doesn’t like lamb, I take advantage of those rare opportunities to consume copious amounts of lamb.

My favorite preparation is simple and straightforward.

Note: My wife took my camera with her on her trip, so the photos in this post were taken with my phone, so please excuse the quality.

Begin by bashing up a big handful of fresh herbs (rosemary is best, but this time, I only had thyme), 3 fat cloves of garlic, and some salt in a mortar and pestle.  There are lots of other things you can add here: lemon zest, coriander seed, mint, and cumin seeds are all good (though I wouldn’t mix cumin with rosemary or mint).

If you’re using rosemary, it’s helpful to chop it up a little bit first.  Also, in addition to adding flavor, the salt helps to pulverize the herbs and garlic by acting as an abrasive.

Next, grind in a generous helping of black pepper, and then pour in enough olive oil to make a slush.  Now rub the marinade on all sides of some thick chops, then let them rest in the fridge for several hours – though they’ll still be good if you don’t have time for this.

Get a grill or grill pan nice and hot.  You want instant sizzling when the chops hit the hot bars.  To me, the charred marks left by the grill are essential for good flavor, so leave them long enough to get a good sear, but beyond that is up to you.  Lamb, unlike beef, retains a good amount of moisture even when cooked to medium, but personally, I like it more on the rare side.

Once they come off of the grill, squeeze a lemon over them and let them rest for a few minutes.  This is essential when cooking nearly all meats and poultry.  The protein strands in the meat have pulled tight during the cooking, and if you cut into the meat too early, a good deal of the juices will be squeezed out.  As the meat rests after cooking, the strands of protein relax, and the juices will remain in the meat.

This time, I had my lamb with potatoes, which had been cubed, steamed until just barely done, then pan fried in a generous amount of oil until they had gone crispy on the outside.  Honestly, it was a strange combination, but good nonetheless.  Lamb feels like it wants to go with spinach or some kind of white beans, like navy or garbanzo, or even couscous or polenta.