Monday, June 13, 2016

Weeknight Dinners: Grilled Balsamic Lamb Chops

Summer is barbecue season, but sometimes we get so caught up on the same old burgers and hot dogs that we forget how versatile our grills can be! Don't save it just for a sunny weekend; here's a quick weeknight dinner that you can cook up (and eat) al fresco in just 30 minutes: Grilled roasted new potatoes with thyme, grilled courgette (zucchini) spears, and balsamic marinated grilled lamb chops. 

For the lamb marinade, mix together 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 sprig of fresh thyme (stem removed, leaves crushed between your hands), 1 clove of garlic (grated, finely minced, or popped in a garlic press) and salt and pepper. Put in a plastic bag or covered container and allow to marinate. I recommend marinating an hour in advance, or even overnight, but if you're pressed for time, simply marinate while you prep your veggies. 

New potatoes are in season, so what better way to bring out their natural sweetness than by roasting. Grilling potatoes in a foil packet gives them both the direct heat from the flames below, for crispy skins, as well as indirect heat as they steam in the foil packet and get nice and soft inside. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and some fresh thyme (leftover from the lamb marinade). Seal up the foil packet well - leave a little breathing room inside - and put on the grill ASAP over a medium flame. They need to cook the longest, so put the potatoes on first. 

Next, cut the courgettes (zucchini) into spears. Toss with a tiny bit of olive oil to prevent sticking, and sprinkle with your favourite grilling spice. I found this fish and seafood seasoning grinder at Aldi, and it has a lot of great flavours like lemon, fennel, chili flakes, dill and turmeric, and I thought it would work wonderfully for these veggies. 

The courgettes should go on the grill at medium heat with about 20 minutes to spare, turning regularly so that they cook evenly. When they are about halfway cooked (beginning to get colour and starting to get more tender), put the lamb chops over a high flame and sear both sides. Baste with the leftover marinade and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

Happy grilling!

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