Cook Fresh, The Best of Fine Cooking

Spring 2014

Cooking Fresh Spring 2014 / JillHough.com

Feature Story
Lemony and Fresh

Lemon-Garlic Lamb Chops with Minted Couscous
Here, a simple lemon-garlic sauce does double duty – it’s brushed on the lamb and stirred into the couscous. You can also use lamb loin chops instead of rib chops, but they might need slightly more time under the broiler.

Serves 4

12 3/4-inch-thick lamb rib chops (about 3 lb. total)
2 medium lemons
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup couscous
1/2 cup peas, thawed if frozen
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Position an oven rack about 4 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high. Arrange the lamb in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

Finely grate the zest from both lemons and then squeeze them to yield 1/4 cup juice. In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, and garlic. Set aside 3 Tbs. of the mixture. Brush one side of the lamb with half of the remaining lemon mixture and season with 3/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Broil for 4 minutes, then flip the lamb, brush the other side with the remaining half of the lemon mixture, and season with 3/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Broil for 3 minutes more for medium rare or 4 minutes for medium. Let the chops rest, loosely covered with foil, for 5 minutes.

While the lamb cooks, bring 1 cup water and 3/4 tsp. salt to a boil in a 1- to 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the couscous, peas, and reserved lemon juice mixture. Cover, remove from the heat, and let stand until the peas are tender and the couscous has absorbed all of the liquid, at least 10 minutes.

Fluff the couscous with a fork, stir in the mint, and serve with the lamb chops.

Last Bite column
Float Away: A grown-up take on the classic ice cream soda

Apricot-Vanilla Sparkling Wine Floats
This dessert is elegant yet playful, and a great way to take advantage stonefruit season.

Serves 6

1/2 vanilla bean
1 lb. ripe apricots, pitted and cut into bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
About 1 1/2 pints vanilla ice cream
1 750-ml bottle sweet or off-dry sparkling wine (such as Asti Spumante), chilled

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape the seeds into a 3-quart saucepan, and add the vanilla bean, apricots, sugar, lemon juice, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 2 Tbs. water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apricots are very tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by filling a large metal bowl with a few inches of ice and water. Have ready a second metal bowl that will fit into the ice bath.

Transfer the apricot mixture to the second bowl and put the bowl in the ice bath. Stir occasionally until cool, about 5 minutes. Discard the vanilla bean and puree the apricot mixture in a food processor.

Place two small scoops of the ice cream in each of 6 tall, narrow 14- to 16-oz. glasses. Top each with about 2 Tbs. of the apricot sauce. Repeat with another layer of ice cream and sauce. Add about 1/2 cup of the sparkling wine to each glass. Serve immediately, with straws and spoons.