Short-term lamb chops

Lamb chops with gremolata

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Lamb chops

Lamb chops with gremolata: Lots of parsley and lemon fluff help perk up our lamb chops before and after their shift on the grill. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

Unemployment has reached an alarming level, especially in my kitchen. Full-time workers — the toaster, blender and food processor — routinely quit.

It must be shoddy upbringing, flimsy work ethic, lack of stick-to-it-tiveness. Though I've heard the rumors: It's me. I work the help too hard, too long and never pay overtime.

Maybe. All I can say is: I'm hiring again. I've had an opening for a food processor since spring. And after years of recruiting from China, I'm trying France.

I sent the first candidate back — wrong finish. The second one showed up for work six months late. It came with paperwork, two books, a flip-top bin of blades and a DVD. These I shoved aside and reached for the cord. How different could this machine be?

I tossed in a bunch of parsley and pushed the button marked "marche." I also tried "pulse." And "arret." The bowl was dusted with green crumbs, good for gremolata, the parsley and lemon fluff that perks up lamb chops before and after their shift on the grill.

The new recruit can stay. I've learned these contracts are short term. No point in cuing up that DVD.

Short-term lamb chops

Prep: 15 minutes
Wait: 30 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes
Serves: 4


12 lamb rib chops (about 3 ounces each), trimmed of fat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup gremolata (recipe follows)

Season chops with salt and pepper. Rub all over with mustard and half the gremolata. Let rest at room temperature, 30 minutes.

Build (or spark) a medium-hot fire. Oil grates. Grill over direct heat about 3 minutes per side for medium rare. (Lacking grill, use a heavy cast-iron pan, lightly oiled, set over medium-high heat.) Set chops on a platter, cover loosely with foil and let rest, 5 minutes.

Dust with remaining gremolata.

Measure 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt into the food processor. With machine running, drop 2 cloves garlic (degermed) down the chute, buzzing it to bits. Stop and add 1 cup (loosely packed) fresh parsley and the finely grated zest of 1 lemon. Pulse several times. Makes about ½ cup.

Leah Eskin is a Tribune Newspapers special contributor. Email her at

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