Week 23, Meal 2: Restaurant chops

Because I used to each Chicken McNuggets, like, on the regular, I never had a true taste for great food.

Sure, I knew the difference between fast food and the stuff that comes from nice restaurants, but cooking restaurant quality dishes at home was never something I dreamed of doing until I started this blog.

I love when a dish tastes like it came from the kitchen of a fancy restaurant and Week 23, Meal 2: Grilled lamb chops over asparagus and morel mushrooms with sherry vinaigrette is a meal that smacks of finer-than-home dining.

The Recipe (Yield: 2 servings)

6 single bone lamb chops
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooking spray

Sherry vinaigrette
1 t sherry vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 t chopped shallot
1/2 t chopped garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste

Morels and asparagus
1 T vegetable oil
8 oz. asparagus, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, lower 1/3 discarded2-3 oz. morel mushrooms, stemmed (cut down if they’re large, but the smaller the better)
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup sherry cooking wine
Salt and pepper, to taste

I had a hell of a time finding fresh morel mushrooms and when I finally did, the stock at Whole Foods looked terrible. So I opted for a bag of dried shrooms and simply re-hydrated them in a bowl of warm water for 20 minutes.You’ll need 2-3 oz. of morel mushrooms total.

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Chop 8 oz. of asparagus into 1 1/2-inch pieces, after discarding the woodier lower 1/3 of the stem. Blanch the asparagus for 2-3 minutes, until bright green. Cool in an ice bath.

Heat 1 T of vegetable oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add morels and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 shallot, finely chopped, and 1 clove of garlic, also finely chopped. Saute for another 1-2 minutes until the mushrooms are soft, but not falling apart.

Add blanched asparagus and 1/4 cup of sherry cooking wine. Cook until the wine reduces by about 1/2. Season with salt and pepper and reserve.

Next, make the sherry vinaigrette by combining 1 t of sherry vinegar, 1 T of olive oil, 1 t of chopped shallot, 1/2 t of chopped garlic in a blender or Magic Bullet. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Next, pre-heat the grill to high for the lamb.

Season 6 single bone lamb chops with salt and pepper. Coat the grill well with cooking spray and grill chops for about 1-2 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove from the grill and allow to rest briefly before serving.

To plate: Put 1/2 of the mushrooms and asparagus in the middle of the plate. Top with lamb and drizzle some of the vinaigrette on the lamb, and around the plate if you have some left.

This dish packs salty, succulent perfection in every bite. The heavy-handed use of shallots and sherry do so much for the taste of this lip-smacking meal. File under: Cook to impress.

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