This easy marinated lamb is a delicious, easy, and impressive dinner you can make almost entirely in advance! The lamb is marinated in garlic, mint, and lemon before being seared to perfection and served with a creamy ricotta and fresh gremolata. Trust me, your family will love this one! See below for Frequently Asked Questions, Wine Pairings, and the Recipe Background!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Gremolata?
A: Gremolata is a condiment typically made of parsley, garlic, and lemon and often served with ossobuco (braised veal shanks). I’ve adapted it slightly with the addition of mint and basil to enhance the flavors of fresh lamb chops.
Q: Do I have to marinade the lamb overnight?
A: Of course not— just use whatever time you have. This recipe also works perfectly without marinading the lamb at all. I’m not a huge fan of the gaminess of lamb so the marinade helps mellow that out a bit for me.
Q: Can I use this recipe with other meats?
A: Of course. This recipe would also be delicious with beef, veal, or chicken. Just adjust cooking times accordingly.
Q: Can I substitute mint or basil in this recipe?
A: I’d recommend keeping the mint because it pairs so perfectly with lamb but you can substitute the basil for fresh parsley.
What to Drink with Dinner
This dish pairs perfectly with orzo (cooked according to the package directions) that I seasoned lightly with butter, garlic, and herbs de Provence. And of course, for a touch of green I added roasted broccolini with pine nuts. To drink, we served a full-bodied Shiraz from Australia— a perfect compliment to lamb.
Perfect Marinated Lamb Chops
For the Marinade
- 4 Lamb Chops frenched or shoulder
- 2 garlic cloves smashed
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 large fresh mint leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp espresso rub optional, but encouraged*
For the Whipped Ricotta
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Mint Gremolata
- 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves julienned
- 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves julienned
- 1/4 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp grated garlic
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 clove of garlic smashed
- Orzo optional
- Roasted Broccolini optional
Marinade the Lamb
- Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a large bag (or shallow bowl). Make sure each lamb chop has been coated on both sides. Allow the lamb to sit in the fridge overnight. If you’re short on time, shoot for at least two hours.
- Make the Whipped Ricotta
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the ricotta and olive oil. Pulse on high until the ricotta becomes smooth and creamy— about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the Gremolata
- Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and let them sit for at least 30 minutes before serving so the lemon juice can mellow the raw garlic flavor.
To Cook the Lamb
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is almost smoking. If it begins to smoke, remove it from the heat for a few seconds so it can cool down slightly.
- Using large tongs, place each lamb chop in the skillet and cook it without moving for 3 minutes.
- Flip each lamb chop. Add the butter and smashed garlic clove. Gently baste the top of the lamb chops with the melted butter. Cook for an additional 3 minutes (for medium rare) or until your desired doneness.
- Serve by smearing the whipped ricotta on the bottom of the plate. Top with lamb chops, followed by gremolata. Enjoy.
Rare: 120ºF Medium-Rare: 125ºF Medium: 130ºF Well Done: 145ºF Remember that these are the final temperature goals. You should remove the lamb from the pan 5-10 degrees below your final goal as it will continue to cook while it rests.
Can I tell you a secret? I really don’t like lamb… there’s something off about it that I just can’t get behind. My husband on the other hand? I think lamb chops would probably be his favorite food so they make an appearance on our menu pretty regularly. Thankfully this recipe is for lamb-lovers and non-lamb-lovers alike. The marinade, whipped ricotta, and gremolata add enough flavor to mellow the gaminess and enhance the meatiness of the lamb while not overpowering it— it’s truly a win-win kind of dinner in our house.