Sautéed Shoulder Lamb Chops with Skordalia Sauce

Raw lamb shoulder chop on a cutting boardShoulder lamb chops are a wonderful bargain. They’re a lot cheaper than rib or loin chops, and they cook up at least two different ways: You can grill or sauté them quickly to rare or medium (they get tough if you cook them any longer) or braise them slowly in liquid until tender. They’re great marinated, as in this recipe, but they’re also delicious simply seasoned with salt and pepper and tossed onto the grill.

Skordalia is a garlicky Greek dip thickened with almonds or other nuts and potato or bread. I thinned it down a little and turned it into a sauce. It goes nicely on top of any grilled or roasted meat. You could even just use it as a dip for bread or raw vegetables, which is how it’s usually served in Greek restaurants.

Makes 4 servings

For the marinade and lamb:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Eight 1/2-inch-thick shoulder lamb chops
3 tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce:
2 slices homemade-style white bread, crusts removed
1 small boiling potato, 2 ounces, peeled, boiled until tender, and drained
1/4 cup ground toasted almonds
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To make the marinade, whisk together the oil, wine, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste; add the marinade and the chops to a large resealable plastic bag and let them marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

For the sauce, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the bread on a baking sheet and toast until dried and barely crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly then soak in cold water 1 minute. Squeeze out the moisture and place the bread in a food processor.  Add the potato, almonds, and garlic; process until smooth. With the blade in motion, pour in the lemon juice, vinegar, and oil. Pour in up to 6 tablespoons water, as much as needed to thin the sauce to pouring consistency. Season with salt and pepper. You should have about 1 cup.

Remove the chops from the marinade, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until about smoking. Add the chops and cook them for 2 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Serve each portion topped with some of the room-temperature sauce.
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