Breaded Lamb Chops with Roasted Fennel
Lamb is expensive and delicious, so make a small piece go a long way by coating a tender chop in a crisp breadcrumb. Local British grass-fed lamb is available from good butchers, and the grazing of animals on well maintained pasture or hillsides helps preserve our grassland species of plants and insects.
This is a quick weeknight supper but also good enough for an Easter weekend meal, celebrating springtime and local food.
The delicate flavour of lamb calls for a simple accompaniment, roast fennel and steamed green beans are perfect. But if you have big appetites to cater for, some buttery mashed potatoes would also go down very well indeed alongside the lamb and fennel.
Serves 4 Timings: 45 minutes
Pre heat your oven to 200°C. Take off the outer leaves of the fennel and remove the stringy bits, slice up into pieces about 1 cm wide. Cut the rest of the fennel bulbs into similar size pieces. Put them all on a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil, then massage the oil into the fennel with your hands. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning every now and then. The fennel will sweeten and brown as it bakes. Remove from the oven when the pieces are tender and a little browned at the edges. You can serve this room temperature so don’t bother to keep it warm unless you prefer. If you can resist eating the crispy bits straight from the pan you’ve got better willpower than I have.
For the lamb: tidy the chops – depending on how your butcher has cut them. You don’t want large pieces of fat or chipped bone, so trim a bit if you need to. Lay the breadcrumbs and the egg in flat dishes in front of you and dip each chop first into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs, patting them on to make a nice firm coating. Lay the chops on a plate or tray for a few minutes to firm up and set.
Fry the chops in about 1cm of oil in a large flat frying pan over a medium heat until the breadcrumb coating is crisp and browned and the lamb has reached how you like it – quite pink is very nice with these tender chops, and they only take about 3 minutes per side.
Serve with simple green vegetables and your succulent roasted fennel. A squeeze of lemon juice over both the fennel and lamb will just give that final sparkle to the dish.
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