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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
José Pizarro

José Pizarro’s recipe for lemon and oregano lamb chops with pipirrana

José Pizarro's lamb chops with pipirrana (tomato salad).
José Pizarro’s lamb chops with pipirrana (tomato salad). Photograph: Yuki Sugiura/The Guardian. Food styling: Hanna Miller. Props styling: Jennifer Kay. Food styling assistant: Verity Walcott.

Lamb chops are a great option for summer – barbecued or grilled, they are both quick and easy. Pipirrana is a zingy tomato salad from Andalusia in my beloved southern Spain, where juicy tomatoes ripen early and have an incredible flavour. It will come as no surprise, then, that the secret to it is really good, ripe tomatoes. Now, in high summer, our own British tomatoes are also excellent, so go the extra mile to find the ripest and best-quality ones you can get your hands on. That way, you’ll get all the flavours of gazpacho in salad form.

Seared lemon and oregano lamb chops with pipirrana

If you’re cooking the chops on a barbecue, light a small amount of coals just before you marinate the meat and give them a short, hot cook on direct heat.

Prep 15 min
Marinate 30 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4

8 lamb loin chops
3 garlic cloves
, peeled and grated
Pared zest of 1 lemon
6 sprigs fresh oregano
, leaves stripped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper

For the pipirrana
1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
700g really ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, halved, deseeded and diced
1 green pepper, stalk, seeds and pith discarded, flesh diced
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Put the loin chops in a shallow dish, add the garlic, lemon zest, oregano and olive oil, season generously and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the sliced onion in a bowl, pour over just-boiled water to cover, leave to stand for five minutes, then drain and cool under cold running water. Pat dry and tip into a serving bowl.

Add all the remaining pipirrana ingredients to the onion bowl, toss to combine, and season to taste.

Heat a griddle pan (or barbecue – see recipe introduction) and, when it’s very hot, sear the chops for four to five minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through, but still pink in the middle. Leave to rest for five to 10 minutes, then serve with the pipirrana and some good bread.

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