Grilled Lamb Chops with Salsa Macha
Costillas de Borrego con Salsa Macha
Serves 4, with 2 2/3 cups salsa macha
From Season 8 Mexico - One Plate at a Time
For the salsa macha:
2 ounces dried chiles (one or more of the following: arbol, chiltepín, pequín, serrano seco, chipotle, morita, puya, guajillo, ancho, mulato, pasilla—depending on the flavors and spiciness you want to go for)
1 1/2 ounces (1/3 cup) nuts (one or more of the following: almonds, peanuts, pecan pieces)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
2 cups olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar (cider vinegar works well here)
1 teaspoon salt
A generous 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs (one or more of the following: Mexican oregano, marjoram, or thyme)
8 large (about 1 3/4 pounds total) lamb chops, bones scraped clean ("Frenched") if desired
1. Make the salsa macha. Stem the chiles, then break or cut them open and scrape/brush/let fall out most of the seeds; cut into 1/4-inch pieces - you will have about 1 cup. (Simply use chiltepin or pequin whole.) In a large (4-quart) saucepan, combine the nuts, sesame seeds, garlic and oil over medium-high heat and cook until garlic and sesame seeds are golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chiles. Let cool 5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar with the salt until dissolved, then add it to the pan along with the herbs. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, pour it into a blender or food processor and pulse until everything is chopped into small pieces. Run the processor for a few seconds until everything is finely chopped—but not pureed.
2. Grill the lamb chops. Heat a gas grill to medium-high or build a charcoal fire and let it burn until the charcoal is covered with grey ash and quite hot. Brush both sides of each lamb chop with a little oil from the salsa macha; sprinkle generously with salt. Grill the lamb chops over the hottest part of the fire until as done as you like, usually about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let them rest on a cool part of the grill for several minutes before serving with the warm salsa macha for each guest to spoon on al gusto.