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Lamb chops with tomato pesto and spinach

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Serve with garlicky sautéed spinach and fingerling potatoes. Look for loin chops that have a good piece of fillet in them.

Servings: Serves 4

Ready time: 1 hour

Wine pairings:

This lamb calls for a bold, full-bodied red to underpin the meat’s richness. I’d opt for red California zinfandel for two reasons. It’s got ample jamminess to offset the gamey lamb and sambal oelek’s chili-fired spice, as well as zippy acid to dance with other ingredients in the pesto. Primitivo, southern Italy’s interpretation of zinfandel, is a bargain alternative - Beppi Crosariol

Ingredients

4 plum tomatoes, halved, seeded

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

½ tsp sambal oelek

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

½ tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp tomato paste

12 loin lamb chops

1 tbsp olive oil

Method

For pesto:

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).

Toss tomatoes with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Place tomatoes, cut side up on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until shrivelled slightly and browned but still juicy. Remove from oven and let cool.

Place tomatoes in a food processor. Whirl with Parmesan, mint, sambal oelek, vinegar, coriander seeds, tomato paste and remaining 3 tbsp olive oil. Process until just combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For lamb chops:

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Season chops with salt and pepper. Heat oil in skillet over high heat. Sear chops in batches for about 2 minutes per side. Place on rack over a roasting pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until chops are pink in the middle. Rest for 5 minutes. Serve with pesto dotted on top.

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