We’re back from our trip to the little piece of heaven on earth that is Madeira~! We’ve just returned last night, so I still need a bit of time to get my feet back on the ground and sift through the mountain of pictures hubby and I took – prepare for some scenery shots of showstopping proportions and, of course, some dinner-time yum-shots in the near future.
Now, as promised, here’s Part #2 of my Cedri Lemon Experiment~
To determine whether the whole deal works better in a cheesy or a meaty kind of context, I quickly re-purposed the wonderful lamb chops I had picked up with my original tajine plans in mind and turned them into simple bites to go with the lemon. Lemon-wise I used the same marinade for this one as I did for the Goat’s Cheese bites – mainly because, since I messed up one chunk of the slices with the marinade blots, I only had one batch of slices left, which reduced the room for further mishaps to zero. My secondary reason to stick with this aroma composition was the obvious one, I kept the winning team – it just works perfectly with lemons! I’ll give you the short version this time around, a recap, if you will. If you prefer a more elaborate set of instructions and explanations, make sure to have a look-see at the how-to in my Cedri Special Part #1.
Just a heads up along the lines of „do as I say, not as I do!“: In hindsight I have to admit I went overboard with the lemon slices on our plates. 3 slices to go with 2 small chops per portion should keep the dish perfectly balanced.
6 very thin Slices of Cedri Lemon, segments and seeds removed
1 Tsp Honey
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Sprig of Thyme, leaves picked and stem discarded
5-6 Lavender Blossoms
1 small Clove of Garlic, finely chopped
1 Pinch each of Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper
1) Add the oil and lemon juice to a small pot or pan and set it onto medium-low heat.
2) Stir the honey into the liquids as they’re warming up. Make sure it’s completely dissolved before moving on to the next step.
3) Add the thyme leaves, lavender blossoms, garlic and pepper to the mixture.
4) Leave the marinade to simmer and infuse for 10 min.
5) Take the pan off the heat and set it aside to cool back down to room temperature. Once the oil has cooled off you could remove the herbs and garlic bits by straining the liquid though a fine sieve before pouring it onto the lemon slices if you wanted to keep the slices undotted and shiny.
6) Arrange the lemon slices in a deep dish in one layer to make sure they all soak up the same amount of the marinade.
7) Quickly pour the marinade into the dish – either near the rim or in any other lemon-free spot – to make sure the marinade spreads out evenly between the lemon slices.
8) Tilt the dish in case you missed a spot, then cover it with clingfilm and set it aside to give the marinade some time to work it’s magic.
4 small Lamb Chops
1 Sprig of Rosemary, needles picked and finely chopped
1 small Bay Leaf
1 Green Cardamom Pod, lightly bashed
1 Pinch of dried hot Chilli Flakes
½ Tsp of Coriander Seeds, lightly crushed
5 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Butter
Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper to taste
1 Handful of Lamb’s Lettuce or Mixed Greens to serve
2 small Tomatoes, sliced in ¼ or 1/8
15g Parmesan, freshly grated
1) Gently place the chops in a wide conatiner, making sure there’s around a finger’s breadth of space between the pieces.
2) Add the herbs, chillies and cardamom pod to a small pan and set it onto medium-low heat.
3) After around 3-4 mins, once the delicious aromas of the spices start wafting up to you, add the oil, give the lot a gentle stir and turn the heat down to low.
4) Leave the oil to infuse for 10 mins, then take the pan off the heat and set it aside to cool off.
5) Once at room temperature, remove the bay leaf and the cardamom pod.
6) Drizzle the lamb chops with the infused oil, cover the lid and give them around 2-3 hours to marinade. This is, of course, best done over night, in case you have the chance to plan ahead. Keep the container in the fridge until 1 hour before pan o’clock either way.
7) Once you’re about ready to serve, fire up a large pan on high heat. Give it around 5 mins of undisturbed stovetop time to make sure it’s at its maximum temperature.
8) Add the butter to the pan, give the pan a quick twirl to distribute the butter, then carefully place the chops inside.
9) Drizzle them with 1-2 Tbsp of the marinade, add another twirl and finish the dance with a generous pinch of salt and pepper before flipping the chops over after around 45-60 seconds.
10) Repeat the salty flourish and give the second side another 45-60 seconds before checking the meat for its core temperature. In this case, the chops were so small and delicate, 1 min on each side was enough for them to turn out perfectly, pretty-in-pink and juicy – of course that depends on the size and thickness of the pieces in front of you. Go with the pessure test, your guts or a test-slice to make sure they come out of the pan just the way you like them.
11) Just remember to tuck them in under a blanket of aluminum foil for a couple of minutes of R&R before digging in for the perfect result. With delicate pieces of meat along the lines of a small lamb chop I’d recommend resting them for about the same time they had inside the pan.
12) Once you’ve taken out the chops, deglaze the pan with the rest of the marinade and a totally optional squeeze of lemon juice – that’s where the meager results of my attempts to salvage the remains of the lemon-seed massacre went, by the way – or a swig of white Port.
Assembling The Dish
1) Arrange the lemon slices on 2 plates, carpaccio-style.
2) Place a heap of greens on both plates and drizzle each with 1-2 tsp of the spicy „sauce“ the quick deglazing-action provided you with.
3) Place the tomato slices around the greens and sprinkle everything with the parmesan.
4) Unwrap the chops, place them on the greens and serve immediately!
And that’s all there is to it~! In hindsight I’m glad I accepted the lemon’s challenge – yes, it really annoyed me several times during the experiment, but I soldiered on and, in the end, I was able to turn it into something delicious. I hope you guys enjoyed the experimental ride through the trial and error phase of a recipe in the making~!