Grilled Lamb Chops with Salsa de Pasitas Rojas and Fennel Salad

Metric version of recipe

Yields 8 portions

Ingredient Amount
For the salsa de pasitas rojas  
Garlic cloves, peeled (about 24) 1 cup
Almonds, sliced ½ cup
Raisins ½ cup
Black olives, imported, pitted ¼ cup
Pasilla or ancho chiles, seeded 2 ea.
Lemon zest ¼ cup
Olive oil, extra virgin 1 cup
White anchovies 2 ea.
Chicken broth 2/3 cup
Balsamic vinegar 4 tsp.
Salt 2 tsp.
For the fennel salad and lamb chops  
Fennel bulbs, large, green tops removed 4 ea.
Black olives, pitted and slivered ½ cup
Olive oil, extra virgin, divided use ½ cup plus 3 Tbsp.
Lemon juice 4 tsp.
Salt as needed
Black pepper, freshly ground as needed
Lamb loin chops, 1-inch-thick, (7 lbs. 10 oz.) 16 ea.
Salt 1 tsp.
Black pepper, freshly ground ¼ tsp.


  1. Make the salsa. Combine the garlic cloves, almonds, raisins, olive, chiles, lemon zest, and oil in a large sauté pan. Heat over medium heat until the ingredients begin to fry lightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Cook until the garlic cloves are lightly brown and have softened and the raisins begin to puff. Add the white anchovies. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  2. Transfer the cooked mixture with the oil to a food processor. Process until nearly smooth, about 1 minute. With the food processor running, pour the chicken stock, vinegar and the salt into the ground mixture and process until nearly smooth, about 1 minute. Adjust seasonings and refrigerate. This should make 2 cups.
  3. Preheat a charcoal grill to a medium-high heat, or build a fire with coals and let it burn down until the coals are glowing red with a thin woating of white ash. Spread the coals out in a single layer.
  4. Make the fennel salad while you wait for the grill or coals to heat up. Cut the fennel bulbs in quarters lengthwise. Slice the thick core off each bulb. Remove any tough outer leaves. Slice the bulbs vertically into ¼-inch shards. In a medium bowl, mix the olives, ¼ cup of the oil, and the lemon juice. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the fennel shards and toss to coat lightly.
  5. Cook the lamb chops. Rub them with the remaining oil and season with the salt and pepper. Grill until medium rare, about 5 minutes per side. Arrange two grilled lamb chops on each dinner plate. Add ½ to 2/3 cup of fennel salad. Spoon 2 rounded teaspoons of salsa over each lamb chop, then drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil over each plate. Serve extra salsa in a bowl and place on the table for people to help themselves.

Additional tips

Recipe credit: Robert Del Grande for the California Raisin Marketing Board, as presented at the Worlds of Flavor International Conference & Festival. Published with permission of the author. All rights reserved. Presented at the World Marketplace on Friday, Nov. 3, 2006.

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