Who can resist lovely fresh, lean and tender New Zealand rack of lamb, simply seasoned and pan fried with a handful of roast potatoes and a peppery bright green arugula? Quick, easy, healthy and delicious. Inspired by a recipe from Nigella's cookbook Nigellissima that I picked up at her book launch when she was in Toronto a few years ago, she says, "If you put your halved baby potatoes on to steam before you get started on the lamb chops, you can fairly effortlessly rely on a proper meat-and-potato supper in around 20 minutes. Steaming the potatoes is, for me, an important stipulation: a steamed spud is a sweet spud; more than that, cooked this way, rather than by boiling, the potatoes are dry when done, which makes them easy to fry to crisp bronzedness". Bronzedness? I don't know if that's a word, but it's certainly a fabulous recipe, and one that I make over and over again!
Lamb Chops with Mint, Chilli & Roast New Potatoes on Arugula
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson
1 lb baby new potatoes, washed and halved but not peeled
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried mint
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 rack of lamb, cut into single chops
3 1/2 oz wild arugula
5 Campari tomatoes, cut in half
1 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes & black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint, plus some whole sprigs for garnish
Shaved parmigiano, for garnish
Put the halved new potatoes on to steam. Place the lamb chops in a dish that will fit them all in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, mint and celery salt. Turn until well coated, and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
Heat a large heavy non-stick frying pan that will fit the chops in one layer, and cook on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of the rack. While the chops cook, check that the potatoes are tender, which they should be by now, in which case, turn the heat off under the steamer. Turn the chops with tongs and cook a further 2-3 minutes.
Arrange the arugula on a large platter and when lamb is done, but still juicily pink, arrange on top of the greens. Meanwhile, tip the steamed potatoes into the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes, then turn them over and fry for another 3 minutes, shaking the pan every now and again to make them tumble and turn in the hot, spiced fat. Using a slotted spatula, transfer potatoes to the platter and season with a flurry of Maldon salt, pepper, fresh mint, halved tomatoes and some shaved parmigiano — delizioso!