Monday, 4 June 2012

Garlicky lamb chops with chipotle roasted tomatoes and radish tzatziki

This plate of deliciousness is made up of three different dishes that work well together and, for me, taste of summer. Radish in the tzatziki instead of cucumber adds a nice twist as it's less watery and more crunchy, while the mint and radish balance each other for cool and heat. 

Although you need to prepare ahead a little, the preparations take almost no time and everything will be cooked and ready to eat in half an hour. The longer you can give the lamb and tomatoes to sit in their marinades the better - you could do this before going to work, for example. Cover both with clingfilm then pop the lamb in the fridge but leave the tomatoes out as they hate cold.

What you need: 
2-3 lamb chops (depends on the size and your hunger)
Tomatoes - 8-10 cherry or baby plum, or 2-3 regular tomatoes halved
Olive oil
1 small chipotle chilli
Small bunch of radishes
A little fresh mint
A small pot of Greek yoghurt

What to do:
Crush 2-3 cloves of garlic finely in a press (one per chop) and rub well into the meat. Drizzle some olive oil over and set aside. Crush or chop the chipotle chilli as finely as possible. Put the tomatoes in a small baking dish, coat well with olive oil, add a pinch of sea salt and a small grinding of black pepper, then sprinkle over the chipotle and set aside.

When you're ready to cook, heat the oven to 180C and pop the tomatoes in - bake them for half an hour until they are soft and juicy.

Make the tzatziki. Wash the radishes, pat them dry with kitchen paper and top and tail them. Grate them coarsely into a bowl. Chop the mint finely and add to the radishes. Tip in the yoghurt, mix everything well and season to taste. Chill in the fridge. 

Get an iron griddle pan as hot as possible and slap the cutlets on - 5 minutes each side is about right for thick chops if you like them a little pink in the middle.

Plate up - put the chops and tomatoes on the plate and drizzle some of the smoky tomato juices over both. Add a generous dollop of radish tzatziki on the side and toast a pitta bread as an extra if you're hungry enough. 

Cook's tips:
The tzatziki will keep, covered, in the fridge for 2-3 days once made. Although radish is considerably less watery than cucumber, I like to squeeze it dry through a sieve after grating to reduce any separation once mixed with the yoghurt. 

If you can't get hold of whole chipotle chillis, a pinch of chipotle powder works just as well. Otherwise try a pinch of smoked paprika and drizzle a little chilli-flavoured oil over the tomatoes before roasting them.