Garlic and Parsley Lamb Chops with Smoked Almond Crust
Barcelona in winter, when it isn’t raining, can be glorious. The sun is out, the air is crisp and biting, you don a coat and wrap a scarf around you. Boots over jeans or tights complete the look and with shopper in hand you’re ready for a marvelous food adventure. So many markets to explore and shops tucked away in tiny cobbled streets in old neighbourhoods.
One such shop is E & A Gispert Mestres Torradors (Master Roasters) a grocery store founded in 1851, selling nuts, dried fruit and vegetables mainly. The roaster that they’ve been using for well over a hundred years is still in operation and purveyors of the best quality roasted and smoked nuts come especially to this store.
I had to have some of the famous Barcelona hazelnuts (Catalans are crazy for this, as is evident in the hazelnut oil and purees used by many of the Michelin starred chefs in the city- and I had a fair amount of that at a few amazing restaurants during this visit too – will tell all soon). I also picked fat, lightly salted macadamias, sun dried tomatoes, raw and blanced smoked Spanish almonds.
Spanish almonds are different to the almonds we’re accustomed to – they are flatter, rounder and as you can see, less pointed at the ends.
I thought these smoked Spanish almonds would make a beautiful crust for my garlic and parsley lamb chops, instead of bread crumbs, and they did.
Substitute with blanched almonds crushed with a generous grind of smoked salt if you can’t find any smoked almonds.
4 free range lamb chops
4 large cloves garlic
4 T parsley (curly or flat leaf)
40 ml extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
125 ml smoked almonds, crushed coarsely in a pestle and mortar
2 T olive oil
Crush the garlic and parsley together in a pestle and mortar. Add the olive oil and salt and pound till a coarse paste forms.
Coat the chops well in this paste and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
In a pan on high heat, add the two tablespoons olive oil. Fry the chops on both sides for a minute or so each to brown and seal.
Heat oven to 200 ˚Celsius, set on the second highest rack.
Grease a tray, place chops on top and sprinkle with crushed almonds.
Bake till almonds brown or the chop is done to you required doneness. I prefer mine done medium.
E & A Gispert
23, Barri de la Ribera, 08003, Barcelona