Grilled Lamb Loin Chops with Baby Spinach, Crumbled Feta, and Cherry Tomato Salad

grilled lamb loin chops

The flavors of the Mediterranean are an ideal match for preparing lamb. Rosemary and garlic are traditionally used in Greek and Italian cooking. I can't imagine not using them both when marinating meats, particularly lamb. It's great for either a leg of lamb for roasting or chops for grilling. The woody perfume of the rosemary permeates the meat, creating earthy flavor. Greek cuisine also utilizes lemons to add brightness to dishes. Here the lemon juice tenderizes the meat and brightens the flavor. Rosemary, garlic, and lemon are the triumvirate of Mediterranean cooking.

For grilling the lamb, I like loin chops, which look like little T-bones. Rib chops also work well for this recipe, but the loin chops offer more meaty flavor. For a healthy side, I pair the chops with a spinach salad that includes cherry tomatoes, salty Greek feta, and toasted pine nuts along with a simple vinaigrette. It's a great combination of flavors to pair with grilled lamb and it's perfect for a healthy lunch or dinner. With spring just around the corner, there's no better way to welcome it than with the bright flavors of the warm Mediterranean.

Grilled Lamb Loin Chops

6 lamb loin chops, trimmed of fat
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 sprig fresh rosemary, stripped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

To a large resealable plastic bag, add lamb, lemon juice, rosemary leaves, and garlic. Seal, place on a plate to capture any leaks, and let marinate in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When ready to cook, remove the chops from the bag, scraping off all bits of rosemary and garlic. Pat chops dry with paper towels. Discard marinade.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high to high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper, and brush with oil. Sear the chops for 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Let the lamb chops rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 2 servings.

Baby Spinach, Crumbled Feta, and Cherry Tomato Salad

1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces baby spinach
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ounces feta, crumbled
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add spinach and tomatoes; toss to coat. Top with feta and pine nuts; toss lightly. Yield: 2 servings.