What's for Dinner: Lamb Chops with Pesto and Creme Fraiche

Dash and Bella Shares a Recipe

dash and bella lamb chops!

Our proudest food moment of 2011 happened at McDonald’s (no judgment). The only thing our kids would eat was pre-packaged apple slices. Victory!

For our next trick, we’ll get them to beg for pesto and creme fraiche. To help, we’ve enlisted Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella, a blog about cooking fantastic food for (and with) two kids. Tastiest nugget: Grant doesn’t water down flavors to appease littles.

I make classic basil and pine nut pesto all summer, but in the winter we mix it up. Maybe some steamed broccoli, parsley, and pecorino. Or spinach, walnuts, and piave. But according to my daughter, the kale, manchego, and almond combination is the best ever.

Lamb Chops with Kale Pesto and Lemon Creme Fraiche
Serves four

Lamb Chops

10 lamb chops
Lemon wedges

1. Generously season the lamb chops with salt and pepper.

2. Bring a cast-iron pan to very high heat. Once the pan is smoking, sear all sides of the chops (start with the thin, fatty edges and then pour off some of the fat).

3. To test for doneness, cut an incision in the smallest chop. Remove from heat earlier than you think you should. (They will continue to cook after you remove from heat; you can always throw them back in the pan if need be.)

4. Let the chops sit for a few minutes.

5. While the chops are still warm, top each with a spoonful of lemon creme fraiche and a spoonful of kale pesto (recipes below).

6. Serve with lemon wedges. Eat with your fingers.

Kale Pesto

1 head kale (curly or plain), washed, tips trimmed, coarsely chopped
1 anchovy fillet (packed in oil)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
¾ c. blanched almonds, lightly toasted
1½ c. grated manchego (or any combo of hard cheeses like pecorino or Parmesan)
1/3 c. creamy, fresh goat cheese
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.

2. Add a small handful of salt. Add kale. Let wilt for about a minute.

3. Remove kale and place in colander to drain water. Press water out with hands.

4. Make a paste with the anchovies and garlic cloves in a mortar and pestle. Don’t have one? Mash on your counter with the side of a chef’s knife.

5. In a food processor, add kale, anchovy/garlic paste, almonds, grated hard cheeses, goat cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, a big pinch of salt, and a few turns of pepper.

6. Puree (not too much because you want a little texture). Scrape down sides. Puree more. Scrape down sides. Taste and adjust flavors as needed.

7. If you’re not serving within a few hours, top the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil and refrigerate.

Lemon Creme Fraiche

¾ c. creme fraiche
Juice and zest of ½ lemon

1. Combine all ingredients.

2. Taste. Adjust as needed.

Find more delicious dinner recipes online at dashandbella.blogspot.com.

Photo: Phyllis Grant / Courtesy of Dash and Bella