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Lamb Cutlets with Mint, Chili and Golden Potatoes

Nigella Lawson believes there are few things more cheering than a platter piled with food, as with this bountiful dish. If you put the halved baby potatoes on to steam before you get started on the lamb chops, you can fairly effortlessly rely on a proper meat-and-potatoes supper in around 20 minutes (plus a little marinating time). Steaming the potatoes is an important stipulation: a steamed spud is a sweet spud; more than that, cooked this way, rather than by boiling, the potatoes are dry when done, which makes them easy to fry to crisp bronzedness, without spitting, later. It’s important, though, that you don’t fill the pot with too much water first.

If you’d like, strew some arugula over the platter first (about 4 cupfuls should provide enough leafage to make this a salad rather than a garnish), but any leaves that are good and in season will do, such as radicchio. If you don’t have celery salt, use a little sea salt instead.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. baby white potatoes, halved but not peeled
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried mint
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt
  • 8 lamb rib chops, frenched
  • 4 cups packed arugula (optional)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt or 1/2 tsp. table salt, or to taste
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint

Directions:

Put the halved baby potatoes on to steam.

Get out a large dish—in which the lamb chops will fit in a single layer—and pour into it the olive oil and sprinkle in the red pepper flakes, dried mint and celery salt.

Using 1 lamb chop as if it were a wooden spoon, smoosh the oil with its sprinklings around a bit, then place the lamb chops in a single layer, turn them instantly, and let marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat a large, heavy nonstick fry pan—big enough (about 11 inches diameter) for all the chops to fit in—then place them all in it (the oil that clings to them from the marinade is plenty enough for them to fry in). Fry over medium heat for 5 minutes. While the chops cook, check that the potatoes are tender, which they should be by now; if so, turn the heat off under the steamer, pour off the water and let the potatoes stand, drying.

Using tongs, turn the chops over and cook for 3 minutes more. If you are going to make this an entire one-plate meal, strew the bottom of a large serving platter with arugula or any other leafage you desire. When the lamb chops are cooked but still juicily pink, transfer them to the platter. Cook for longer if you like your lamb well-done.

Tip the steamed potatoes into the pan and fry for 3 minutes, then turn them over and fry for 3 minutes more, shaking the pan every now and again to make them tumble and turn in the hot, spiced fat.

Using a slotted spatula, transfer the potatoes to the platter with the chops and sprinkle with kosher salt, to taste, along with the chopped parsley and fresh mint. Serves 4.

Adapted from Nigellissima, by Nigella Lawson (Clarkson/Potter Publishers, 2012).