Sunday, 4 March 2012


Whilst out for dinner, many moons ago, The Fabulous Baker Girl, another friend and I ordered antipasto and spurred on by the urban legend 'if you eat something seven times you will begin to enjoy it, or at least stop hating it' we steeled ourselves and began our battle with the olives on our dish.  Only minutes later, following much groaning and pulling of ridiculous faces, we accepted defeat and collectively consigned olives to our food room 101.  On balance however, my sister, conducted the same experiment with mushrooms and can now tolerate the funghi.

So as I sat one day watching Nigella conjure up another amazing dish-Calabrian Lamb Cutlets-it was with trepidation that I tried out the recipe and with great surprise, mopped up every morsel on the plate, including the offending olives.

Reading a friends post about her pesto and olive crusted cod had me slabbering but being ovenless at the mo (which is, really beginning to get me, but I refuse to give in until I have enough money in the pot to treat myself to a proper range) I'm unable to try it out.  Thankfully with an abundance of delicious spring lamb in markets everywhere I can treat myself to this Calabrese delight.



  • 12 lamb rib chops
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus 2 tbsp extra for frying
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 small lemon, zest and juice only
  • 1 tsp sea salt/kosher salt or ½ tsp table salt
  • 15 black olives, stones removed, sliced
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 long red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped, to serve (optional)

Preparation method

  1. Place the lamb chops between two sheets of cling film on a work surface and gently flatten by tapping them with a rolling pin or meat mallet. Remove the chops from the cling film and place into a large dish in a single layer.
  2. Pour over the four tablespoons of oil and sprinkle over the garlic, chilli flakes, oregano, lemon zest and juice, salt and olives. Turn the chops in the marinade so that both sides are coated.
  3. Cover and leave the lamb to marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature before cooking.
  4. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Scrape any excess marinade off the chops and reserve in the dish, then fry the chops for 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly golden-brown.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium and pour the reserved marinade into the pan over the chops. Add about two tablespoons of water so that they cook in a little liquid. Cook for about five minutes for rare cutlets, or a little longer if you like your lamb well cooked (this will also depend on the thickness of the chops).
  6. To serve, place three lamb chops onto each of four serving plates. Pour over the juices from the pan and sprinkle with the chopped red chilli, should you feel like enhancing the dried chilli with the pep of fresh.

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