"When I lived in Singapore, I really learned how to use spices in different ways," says chef Jason Wilson of Crush restaurant. After he marinates the lamb in an oil scented with marjoram, cumin, and fennel seed, he grills the meat until slightly crusty, then serves it with asparagus drizzled with mint vinaigrette.
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
- 1/4 cup rosemary leaves
- 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons marjoram or oregano leaves
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground fennel
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 12 lamb loin chops, 1 1/2 inches thick
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds pencil-thin asparagus
- MARINATE THE LAMB: In a saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the oil with the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until golden, 4 minutes. Transfer the garlic oil to a blender. Add the rosemary, parsley, marjoram, salt, pepper, fennel, cumin, cardamom, vinegar, and the remaining 3/4 cup of oil and puree until smooth.
- Arrange the lamb chops in a shallow baking dish. Pour the marinade on top, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight. Return to room temperature before grilling.
- PREPARE THE ASPARAGUS: In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and shallot and simmer over moderate heat until fragrant and softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender, add the lemon zest, and let cool. Add the mint and a generous pinch of salt and pepper and puree to a chunky paste.
- In a large skillet of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the asparagus and run under cold water to cool; pat dry. Transfer the asparagus to a platter and drizzle with the mint dressing.
- Light a grill. Remove the lamb chops from the marinade and grill over high heat, turning occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes for medium-rare meat. Serve the lamb chops with the asparagus.