Lamb chops scottadito with lemon-oregano potatoes

Diana Henry / 06 June 2016

If you have good ingredients, food really doesn’t have to be more complicated than this simple Italian recipe for cutlets with lemon and oregano potatoes.

Cooking time

35-40 minutes

Serves

2



Ingredients

For the lamb

  • 6 (or more, depending on appetite) best end lamb cutlets, well scraped (get your butcher to do it – the bones should be nice and clean)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve
  • 1⁄2 tbsp chopped oregano leaves
  • ½-1 tsp chilli flakes (you can use less, but this is generally pretty spicy)

For the potatoes

  • 250g small waxy potatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • Half-head of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
  • 1 lemon, not too small
  • 4 sprigs oregano

Method

We all make a big deal about spring lamb but it makes for much better eating right through the summer. There are so many ways of cooking lamb but simply grilled with a few herbs has to be one of the most delicious summer lunches.

When it comes to lamb chops there are neat little cutlets (as used in this recipe, from the rack), loin chops, which are meatier, and chump chops, which are really generous and come from the point where the leg meets the loin. Cutlets are a treat – they’re not cheap – but you do get easy eating and perfect little rounds of flesh.

Lamb chops are a quick option for supper – the meat should be pink so, unlike with pork, you don’t have to worry about cooking it all the way through. Some of the best lamb chop meals are incredibly simple too. 

I still remember the first time I had lamb scottadito (‘burn your fingers’ lamb) in a restaurant in Italy. There was a tomato and basil salad first, then a big platter of tiny griddled lamb cutlets arrived. We ate them with our hands. I still think about this meal, 25 years later, which says something. 

Quick they may be, but lamb chops should never be a dull fall back option. Do something just a little interesting with them and cook them with care.

To make, put the cutlets into a large, shallow bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and chilli flakes. Turn everything over with your hands, cover, put in the fridge and leave to marinate for a couple of hours. Turn the meat over every so often if you can.

Halve the potatoes lengthways or, if they are big, cut into quarters. Cut the onions into wedges about 3cm (1in) thick at the thickest part. 

Put the potato, onion and garlic into a shallow ovenproof pan or roasting tin. Cut ½ of the lemon into wedges and toss it in with the potatoes, then squeeze the juice of the other half over everything. 

Add the oregano and some seasoning and pour on the olive oil. Turn everything over with your hands to make sure it’s coated with oil and lemon.

Place the tin in an oven preheated to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6) and roast for 35-40 minutes. The potatoes should be completely tender and lovely and golden in colour.

Heat a griddle pan over a high heat (or use a frying pan if you don’t have a griddle pan). Lift the lamb out of its marinade, shaking off the excess liquid (there shouldn’t be much). Season the meat well.

When the pan is really hot, cook the chops on each side until well-coloured. They should still be pink in the middle so about 1 1⁄2 minutes on each side is enough. 

Press the meaty part of the chops down on the griddle with the back of a wooden spoon as you are cooking. Insert a sharp knife into one of them to see what how well the meat is done (but make sure you serve the chop the other way up so people can’t see the slit).

Serve immediately with the potatoes. Lightly dressed green leaves or green beans are good on the side.

Visit our lamb section for more delicious lamb recipe ideas

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