Moroccan Lamb Chops With Preserved Lemon Gremolata

"With the bone attached, these bite-sized lamb chops are a great finger-food/appetizer for a small crowd. Also, they can be made a day ahead, refrigerated, then served at room temperature. The gremolata topping adds some nice color and brightness but should be prepared on same day of your event. If you would like to prepare your own Ras el hanout, there are many blends, including my own, here on If you are using a blend commercially prepared, the only one I can recommend is from Williams/Sonoma. I have tried another one that is popular and available in markets and online, but the Williams/Sonama blend is far better, JMHO. If you purchase preserved lemon, they are quite spendy. It is easy to make your own, but they need to be made a month ahead of time so they can ripen."
photo by French Terrine photo by French Terrine
photo by French Terrine
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  • Rinse lamb and blot dry. Trim as much fat away from rack as possible. Slice between rib bones, all the way through, to yield eight chops per rack. Place in large container.
  • Combine Ras el hanout, 2 TBSPs of garlic, minced cilantro and olive oil. You might need more olive oil in order to obtain a smooth slather. Toss lamb chops in mixture and allow to stand at room temp for an hour or so.
  • Sprinkle coated lamb chops generously with salt and pepper. Grill over hot fire or broil to desired doneness, only a few minutes per side. When internal temp reaches 130 degrees F, they are medium.
  • After removing from cooking source and still hot, sprinkle with lemon juice. (You might get the same result with adding the lemon juice to the marinade mixture before the lamb is cooked).
  • Prepare gremolata topping on same day you are serving the lamb. Remove pulp from preserved lemons and discard, keeping the rind. Then thoroughly rinse in cold water and mince finely. Roughly chop parsley leaves. Combine preserved lemon, parsley leaves, and remaining tsp of minced garlic. Sprinkle over lamb chops before serving.
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  • Preserved lemon: I usually start with about 5 lbs of organic lemons, juicing enough of them to yield about a cup. Go for organic ones, otherwise they have a coating of wax on them to preserve shelf life in the supermarket. You will need a glass jar with an air-tight seal. Combine ~ a tablespoon of coriander seed with ~ a tablespoon of fennel seed. Place 1 bay leaf and 1 cinnamon stick in the bottom of glass jar. Have a small bowl of Kosher salt nearby. Slice lemons in quarters ALMOST down to stem end, but leave intact. Place coriander and fennel seed inside lemon and also fill with salt. Place cut side down into glass jar, squeezing as many into the jar as you can. As you squeeze them, some of the lemon juice is released, but not enough to fill the jar. Just continue packing in as many lemons as you can and add additional salt between layers of lemon. Top off with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Then refrigerate for a month before using. I think this is Jamie Oliver's technique, but there are many out there. He has also suggested doing this with other citrus, like limes and mandarin oranges. Meyer lemons work nicely. Some techniques suggest a layer of olive oil on top, and this works well, too. If refrigerated, they last indefinitely.

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