Garlic-Rosemary Lamb Chops with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Zucchini

From guest blogger Ryan Shimabukuro, chef de cuisine of Bennett's Pure Food Bistro.

Mint and lamb is a classic culinary combination. I created this week's recipe with the idea of using that fresh, fragile flavor as a crisp counterpoint for the bold, beautiful sweetness of fresh vegetables.

I started with a marinade, which I wanted to be herbaceous and light with a hint of citrus. Then for the mint sauce, I didn't want just a traditional mint sauce. A little cilantro turned the sharpness of the mint a little greener, and some cumin and smoked paprika added an earthy, smoky flavor that goes really well with the oven-finish cooking style.

There's something undeniably summery about roasted cherry tomatoes for me. The same goes for roasted zucchini. So I tossed them, slightly dressed, in with the lamb while it finished in the oven.

Makes 4 servings

Lamb Marinade
1/2 cup rosemary
1/2 cup roasted garlic
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp salt
pinch black pepper
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Lamb chops, 8 bones

Mint Sauce
1 cup loosely packed mint
1/4 cup Italian parsley
2 Tbsp cilantro
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic
pinch of cumin
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 large zucchini

Purée the ingredients for the marinade and baste it onto the lamb chops. Reserve a teaspoon for the vegetables. Leave to marinate for at least a half an hour up to overnight.

Separately, purée the ingredients for the mint sauce and reserve.

Chop zucchini into half-inch pieces. Toss tomatoes and zucchini with a teaspoon of marinade. Reserve.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the lamb chops into two-bone pieces. Heat a bit of canola oil over high heat until it's about to smoke, then sear the pork loins quickly, about fifteen seconds to each side. Once seared, transfer chops to the oven for six minutes. Add the zucchini and tomatoes to chops and put back in the oven for four minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

For Bennett's, we sliced the lamb chops right down the middle between the bones. The zucchini and tomatoes had their own space on the plate next to some lemon-oregano potatoes we served with the dish. We spooned the mint sauce next to the other two components and lay the butterflied chop on top with the bones crossing over the vegetables.

Let us know in the comments if you try this dish! What did you use  instead of the potatoes we used at the restaurant? Or did you make your own twist on the lemon-oregano potatoes?

Blackened Rockfish with Shrimp Salad

I set out for the Big Apple earlier this week, but don't think that means that you'll be without new recipes while I'm out of Seattle! (If you're interested in why I'm in New York, head over to twitter and follow @BeechersNY). While I'm in New York, I invited the chef de cuisine of Bennett's Pure Food Bistro, Ryan Shimabukuro, to be a guest writer on The Carne Diem. He's got some great ideas for dishes and I think you'll be excited to try the recipes he posts.

Hello everyone!
A couple of weeks ago, Kurt made a prawn and rockfish pasta verde for the Bennett's special. I haven't quite gotten rockfish out of my head since then and came up with this simple combo that you can build into a dish using your own favorite sides. Although you can use a generic blackened seasoning that you could pick up at most gourmet grocery stores, I've included one of my own.  The recipe makes much more than you will need for four servings of rockfish, but it never hurts to have extra of this very versatile spice mix lying around for other impromptu dishes.

Makes 4 servings

Blackened Seasoning
1 cup paprika
1/3 cup onion powder
1/3 cup garlic powder
1 Tbsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper

Shrimp Salad
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Old Bay
1/2 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
8 medium shrimp, cleaned
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 green onions, diced
2 tsp capers
1/4 cup mayonnaise

4 filets of rockfish, cleaned and deboned

Mix the ingredients of the blackened seasoning together so the spices are evenly distributed. Reserve.

Prepare a marinade for the shrimp by mixing the lemon juice, Old Bay, garlic, salt, and pepper. Put the shrimp in the marinade for half an hour. Heat a half tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sautée pan over medium heat.  Remove the shrimp from the marinade and cook in the oil until done, about 6 minutes.  Remove from pan and let chill for 15 minutes. Chop the shrimp into 1/2" pieces and place them in a medium bowl. Add the bell pepper, celery, green onions, capers, and mayonnaise and mix together until the mayonnaise has very lightly covered all the other ingredients. Reserve.

Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a large sautée pan over medium high heat. Dust the rockfish liberally with the blackened seasoning and place them in the pan. Flip after about 3 to 4 minutes and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. The fish should be cooked through with a slight crispness on the outside. Remove from heat and plate, topping with a tablespoon of the shrimp salad.

A couple of extra tips:
-Make sure not to leave the shrimp for too long in the marinade, since the lemon juice will eventually start cooking the shrimp ceviche-style.
-Once you've assembled the salad, it will actually gain more flavor over time as the components absorb more of the flavor. A half a day or so is ideal.
-I encourage square meals - at Bennett's we served this with some braised kale and red chard and some delicious fried heirloom tomatoes with basil aioli. What will you make for your sides?

Porcini Tapenade-Rubbed Short Ribs with Rapini and Roasted Potatoes

    The Seattle weather has done it again. Earlier this week, it was grey and chill and I thought, "Fine, Seattle summer, if you're not ready yet, then to spite you, this week's special is going to be the perfect dish for what seems to be a never-ending overcast spring - hearty braised short rib." Now it’s looking like a great Seattle summer weekend.  Oh well, no change in weather can make me not want short ribs.
    I'm always on a quest for new ways to create umami flavors in our dishes.
This week was the first time I experimented with using porcini mushrooms to provide that savory element.  Porcinis are a traditional, Italian variety of mushroom, so I made a wet rub by combining them with some other classic Italian flavors, the tangy saltiness of kalamata olives, aromatic rosemary, and extra virgin olive oil. I think it turned out pretty well, but I'd love some feedback or suggestions on it!

Makes 4 servings


Porcini Tapenade Rub
1/3 cups pitted kalamata olives
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
3 Tbsp chopped garlic
1/3 cup dried, ground porcini mushrooms
1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp honey
1/3 cup olive oil

4 8oz short rib cuts

Braising Liquid
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup red wine (Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

Preheat the oven to 550 degrees F. Put the kalamata olives, rosemary, garlic, porcini, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the chopped jalapeño into food processor and add the honey and olive oil as you purée it all into a rough paste. Massage the rub into the short ribs and let them soak up the flavors for about 20 to 30 minutes. Place them on a sheet pan and roast them for 30 minutes, turning them over at 20 minutes (or when they've begun to caramelize on the outside).

Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 280 degrees F. Transfer any remaining porcini tapenade rub into a braising pan with the other braising liquid ingredients, making only a very shallow layer of liquid. Place the short ribs in the braising pan on top of the onions and braise them for about 2 to 4 hours, checking every half hour after 1 1/2 hours. The meat should give a little without falling apart. If the meat starts to go dry at all, make sure to add a little more braising liquid to keep the moisture in the oven up until the short ribs start giving up their own juices. You want to make sure that the rub doesn't get lost in during the braising!

I recommend serving the short ribs with roasted potatoes and a lighter green like rapini with your favorite onion vinaigrette, but I'd love to hear your idea about other pairings. Speaking of pairings, what type of wine would you pair with this dish at home?

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