Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lamb Chop with Fingerlings and Spinach

It's been quite a while now since my birthday trip to the Green Market. I better show what I did with the things I bought before I forget. Up there in my string market bag (which came out H-U-G-E, but thats what you get when you don't follow the pattern) are the fingerling potatoes, fresh spinach, and purple asparagus.

What did I do with the purple asparagus? I'll give you three guesses. You don't know me very well if you didn't say "some kind of pasta, I'll bet!" And that's exactly what I did. I made a decent tetrazzini type of dish. Nothing to write home about - I didn't have the right kind of pasta and I didn't use enough liquid and I didn't have any black olives, but it was good enough that I hope to play with it some more and come up with something truly fabulous that I will be happy to share with you.

The fingerling potatoes and the spinach were bought specifically to accompany the lamb chops I planned to make at some point during the weekend.

Fingerling potatoes are relatively new to me. I first heard about them in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, but it was a while before I found any, let alone bought them, mostly at the green market. In the five or so years since then, they will appear every once in a while at the grocery store, which is a lovely surprise, but not something to be counted on. I was pretty sure I would find them at Nichols Farm & Orchard at the green market. They always have a good variety of potatoes, and that day was no exception.
There is a lovely recipe for fingerling potatoes and garlic in Madison's book, and it has been my template for roasted potatoes ever since I first made it. The original recipe calls for potatoes, garlic, butter, salt and pepper. And it is delicious just like that. But if I have any fresh herbs around at the time I am making it I will throw them in as well, or if I know I will be making them while I'm at the store and see something nice and fresh, like the thyme I used for these potatoes. This dish goes well with any meat - lamb, beef, chicken, pork - and I'm sure it would complement fish rather nicely as well, although I haven't tried that.

My basic cooking method for fresh spinach also came from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (if I have not talked more often about this cookbook, then I have been remiss, for it is an excellent resource on how to prepare and cook just about every vegetable available today, and a must-have whether or not you are vegetarian). It's ever so simple. You wash the spinach and get rid of any tough stem ends, heat up a frying pan, and cook the leaves in whatever water still clings to them from their washing. Takes about 5 minutes for them to cook down, then you can add whatever seasonings and extras you want. You can even cook it ahead this way, and then prepare it however you want later. For this batch, I simply added the rest of some blood orange vinaigrette I needed to use up. It was surprisingly good
As for the lamb, I went back to my old standard. Every once in a while I try something new, but nothing really can compete with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and mint followed by about six minutes per side under the broiler. The za'atar came close, but I guess a shoulder chop just isn't lamb to me without the mint.

I don't believe I have posted the recipe for the potatoes before. I must correct that. The only other change I ever make to this recipe is to add fresh herbs before putting it into the oven. I've used both butter and olive oil; both work equally well.
Home Cookin Chapter: Beans and Vegetables


3 Tbsp butter or olive oil, plus extra for the dish
1 lb. fingerling or other potatoes, scrubbed and sliced lengthwise into halves or thirds
6 garlic gloves, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the ovent to 400 deg. F. Lightly butter a shallow baking dish.

Layer the potatoes in the dish with the garlic and small pieces of butter or a drizzle of oil and season with salt and pepper. Make sure there's butter or oil for the top.

Add a few tablespoons water to the dish, then cover and bake until tender, 40-50 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes longer to brown the top.

from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison (Broadway Books, 1997).

Exported from Home Cookin 5.5 (

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