A truly delicious way to use your homemade herby goat cheese is to smear it on top of grilled lamb chops while they cook, toasting the cheese in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Pictured here are spring lamb chops from Australia, where all lamb and mutton is pastured. We like that. New Zealand too knows how it’s done, so if you can’t get your hands on locally raised, pastured lamb, aim for these two wise, with-it countries.
Ironically, there is a herd of sheep feeding on the last of an alfalfa field about a half mile away from my home, yet I cannot find pastured local lamb or mutton for sale anywhere! Sigh.
Soak your lamb chops in enough red wine vinegar to nearly cover them all, then sprinkle over some fresh basil and rosemary. Oregano and marjoram work well too.
Actually you may add whatever herbs and spices you like, but please do not salt your chops until after they’re cooked to prevent moisture loss. I wrote a post delineating the three commandments for a perfect steak, and those same rules apply to lamb chops.
Use red wine vinegar instead of balsamic because there are fewer sugars in red wine vinegar. Sugar burns over high heat resulting in a bitter, harsh flavor. Your chops deserve better than that.
Soak the chops for at least an hour and up to a day. Allow them to come to room temperature, then take them out of the marinating container and place them directly on a smoking hot grill for 5 minutes. Turn them, then (perhaps briefly lowering the heat to save your arm) put a little lump of goat cheese on the cooked side of each chop, cover and cook on high for a further 5 minutes, or until your meat thermometer reads the appropriate temperature.
I like my chops rare – medium rare, so I cooked them for 5 minutes on each side over a high flame until they reached 120F (48C) for rare. While they might be small, they were 1.5-2 inches thick, so if your chops are thinner, cook for a shorter period.
To ease your grilling guestimation, spring for a meat thermometer and take them off the grill when they read 120F for rare and 125F (51C) for medium rare. Keep in mind they’ll continue to lightly cook as they rest.
That’s right, rest! Allow your chops rest to fully absorb their own juices, sprinkle each with a little salt and serve alongside a lovely steamed artichoke with a dollop of Real Food Mayonnaise for leaf dipping.