Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lamb with Caulicous

Photos by Cynthia

Lamb chops can be pretty pricey, but a small chop can be very satisfying so they don't have to make the whole meal prohibitively expensive.

The chops were pretty straightforward. Dredged in the current version of the house espresso rub they were thrown on the hellfire of the grill for about three minutes per side.

As for the rub, every batch has its variants but they all start with the Usual Suspects:
  • one part kosher salt
  • one part ground black pepper
  • one part onion powder
  • two parts garlic salt
For the this version of espresso rub we add:
  • two parts smoked sea salt
  • two parts espresso powder
  • two parts cumin
  • Two parts dried porcini mushrooms ground into dust
  • two parts tubinado sugar
  • one part cocoa powder
  • one part dried thyme
  • one part dehydrated worcestershire sauce
I noticed that several commercial steak and burger rubs contain worcestershire powder. I like worcestershire sauce and really wanted to add that flavor to by arsenal of dry rubs without using the sauce (which would alter the texture of the dry rub crust). The only source I found is PackitGourmet. McCormick has a worcestershire black pepper that will do in a pinch.

One problem with this ingredient is that in our humid south coastal environment, if it's not kept super air-tight, the powder absorbs moisture and cures solid as a brick - worse than the rock-hard brown sugar blocks we always half to bust up.

Anyway, the chops were accompanied by caramelized leeks and brussel sprouts which had some radishes tossed in for the last couple of minutes.

I love sauteed radishes. The cooking tempers their bite and the red color is a welcome contrast to the browns and greens that dominate my dishes.

The second side dish was my take on the newly-trendy cauliflower couscous.

The cauliflower florets were chopped in a food processor into a size resembling small couscous grains. I was going to cook them with a harissa sauce, but when I found we didn't have any, I made my own mock harissa. I chopped three cloves of garlic, a dash of coriander seeds and part of a poblano pepper in the food processor. I blended in some Olive oil, a sprinkle of dried cayenne flakes and a squirt of tomato paste.

The caulicous was sauteed until softened. The mock harissa was stirred in and cooked for about two minutes.

It wasn't couscous with harissa.

But it was good. Really good.


  1. tc
    what kind of radishes are you using?
    we are growing a variety called "french breakfast" which are quite wonderful.


  2. jch,

    The radishes here are just labeled "Ruby Radishes" and don't have a lot of bite compared to most others I'm used to.

    Are the "French Breakfast" radishes hot? Do they taste like french toast?

  3. the french breakfast radish is long and lean with a red top and smooth white tips.

    mild yet crisp with a complex personality... definitely more bark than bite.

    warning: it will get hot if you wait too long to enjoy it.

    all in all, i'd say it's more french tart than toast.