Lamb Chops with Pistachio-Mint Pesto
I know lamb isn’t for everyone, but we just love it. This one is a pretty simple grilled lamb chop, but it’s all about the sauce! We’ll be combining arugula, mint, and parsley with some pistachios and lemon juice to make a Greek inspired pesto. And, as with all sauces, I’m going to make just a bit too much of it – it’s great for pasta, sandwiches, or anywhere you’d use a traditional basil and pine nut pesto.
I’ll be cooking my lamb chops on my cast iron grill pan today, until I get a good sear; then popping them in the oven until they hit just the right temperature. My husband loves meat about as rare as is safe, but I’ve finally convinced him otherwise on lamb. I cook it to 145 F, when it’s just approaching medium. In my humble opinion, anything less is a little too chewy. Unfortunately, anything else more can end up a little dry. Yet another reason to invest in an instant read meat thermometer.
I know that measuring packed herbs can be a bit of a challenge. How packed is packed, after all? For this one, it’s not a huge deal as long as you have about equal parts of parsley, mint & arugula. I’ve got medium sized hands for a woman, and 1/3 c. packed herbs is about a handful (see picture). If the pesto is too thick, add some more oil…too thin, add some more herbs.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Season lamb chops with salt and pepper and let them come to room temperature while you make your pistachio pesto.
Lay the pistachios in a single layer on a baking dish. Toast for 5-10 minutes, turning on occasion, until they're light golden brown. Keep the oven at 350 after you remove them.
Roughly chop the shallot, garlic and herbs. Put them into a food processor with pistachios, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, vinegar and oil. Pulse until well combined, and scrape into a medium bowl. Season with salt & pepper to taste, then set aside.
Heat your grill or grill pan to medium-high. Grill the chops until a meat thermometer reads 145 for medium rare. If they are as charred as you would like them, but haven't quite reached 145, you can put them in your still warm oven until they're cooked thoroughly. Rarer lamb is safe to eat, but it can be a little bit chewy.
Serve the lamb with lemon slices and a side of pesto.