Roman Style Lamb Chops

When spending Easter in Rome, Italy a few years ago I learned the phrase "Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi" which means "Christmas with your family, Easter with your friends". 

In Italy friends celebrate Easter on Monday for what is called "Pasquetta" or Little Easter, it's usually celebrated with road trips, lots of wine, good laughs and of course, with food. 

This year for Pasquetta I decided to have a potluck with friends. We would "roadtrip" to Central Park where we could nosh on all kind of yummies but, unlike Mediterranean Italy, New York's weather didn't really cooperate with that idea. So I've put Pasquetta on a delay. I know I'm not alone in wanting these New York days to turn from cold and glum to warm and sunny.

In addition to the weather a real Monday Pasquetta is a bit of a planning nightmare when Americans don't get Monday off as a given. The Italians do know how to leisure like the best of them, and they can't be faulted for that.

Maybe we can start a petition for Pasquetta monday so I don't have to bribe my friends into using vacation days for a Spring potluck?

Anyway, Pasqua must go on and there's no Easter without lamb. I am but one little lady so as much love as I have for lamb I really don't need a whole leg. I opted for a rack of lamb. A bit pricey, but I thought, "It will be so worth it!" And oh, my god, it was.

I purchased a rack and then sliced it into rib chops to increase the marinade to meat coverage and I don't think this was a bad decision at all. I like the extra grill char in each tender bite and the subtle marinade really allowed the lamb to shine through on it's own without being overwhelmed by the spices used.

I marinated for two days (flipping the chops on day two) simply because of a busy weekend, but a few hours or an overnight marinade would suit these chops just fine. 

These little guys make for great picnic packing or road trip chomping if you can get them to your basket or car. I tasted one or two - ok... three - while taking pictures of the final product because they were so delicious I couldn't help myself. When grilled to medium-rare or medium perfection, I will not lead you astray these are best served piping hot but in a pinch, or on a wine-laden picnic, eating these warm won't get you any complaints. 

1 2 1/2 to 3 lb rack of lamb
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 tbsps good olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
5-6 fresh sage leaves
2 fresh bay leaves
kosher salt to taste

Slice lamb into rib chops and sprinkle both sides with a pinch of salt. Place lamb in a container suitable to marinade, a bag is fine if you can keep the meat well covered. Finely chop the herbs and combine with olive oil and white wine, pour over lamb and refrigerate for 4 hours to 2 days!

Grill to medium, over direct heat for a nice char but a medium cook. About two minutes per side.

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