Last Friday I bought a fair amount of meat from Witteveen’s in the St. Lawrence Market. I still had the three lamb loin chops in the refrigerator tonight, so I had to use them for dinner.
Tonight’s dinner was simple: lamb chops grilled on a cast iron grill pan, with some steak spice rubbed into them, and kale and asparagus.
For the meat, I brought it up to room temperature, seasoned it, and then tossed it onto a cast iron grill pan that I had lightly oiled and brought up to about a 4 (out of 10) in temperature. The oil was smoking, I put the exhaust fans on, and cooked the chops for 10 minutes a side — which is about double what I give them in a flat cast iron pan. The raised grill lines impart a lovely pattern on the meat, but it does mean that most of the meat is not in contact with the heat source, so it takes about twice as long to cook.
For the veggies, I cleaned and prepped, and only cooked them while the chops were resting. Kale, torn to bits and microwaved for 2 minutes; asparagus microwaved for 45 seconds. (I wish I could remember where I bought the asparagus because it’s the grittiest asparagus I’ve had in at least 10 years. I spent 5 minutes washing 5 measly stalks, and it was still gritty.)
I had some heliodoro rosemary cheese from Alex Farms in the fridge that I knew would pair well with the lamb and would be very tasty on the greens. It had been there a while, and had gotten quite hard. The vegetable peeler, my first choice of tool, wasn’t up to the task. Absolutely no go. I might as well have tried to peel the bricks on my house. Forget about picturesque white curls sitting on the greens!
Next, I tried ye olde box grater. Hah. Even more useless than the vegetable peeler. The cheese just rode down the outside of the grater like it was on ball bearings. Pressure on the cheese caused it to break into some pieces, but no grating happened.
Then, Lee Valley to the rescue. Pulled out the microplane, which used to be sold for woodworking purposes, until the Lee family discovered that chefs were using them. Man, does that thing bite into things! I can imagine what it would do with wood, because it certainly did the job with my (almost) petrified heliodoro. It turned it into lovely light little gratings, as you can see.