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While the word scottadito, meaning “burned finger” may not sound so appetizing, the thin, flash-fried lamb chops to which the Italian term refers are, in fact savory and juicy offerings. Massi plates the petite treats with roasted and puréed spring veggies, fresh sautéed spinach, and hearty garbanzo beans. To minimize the need for added salt in the sides, he sautés the boiled beans in the same skillet and olive oil used for searing the chops and tops the spinach with a sharp, aged pecorino. The chef also works soft, sweet raisins in with the spinach, noting that the traditional dish is popular during Roman festivities. “It’s a very interesting flavor combination that I encourage everyone to try,” says the self-proclaimed Italian cuisine purist.

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Ingredients

  • 6 spring onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 small plum tomato
  • 1 bulb fennel, fronds removed 
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Chianti
  • 1 tsp. high-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 8 (3/4-inch thick) lamb chops, Frenched

Directions

Preheat oven to 300°F. Finely chop vegetables. In a medium skillet over medium heat, sauté vegetables and garlic in olive oil for about two minutes. Add salt and pepper. Transfer skillet to oven to roast vegetables, about five minutes. Return skillet to stove over medium-high heat. Add Chianti, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until wine reduces to desired consistency. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. In a blender, carefully purée vegetables, wine reduction, and balsamic vinegar to desired consistency (purée should be thick, not liquid).

Raise the oven temperature to 350°F. Rub bottom of iron skillet lightly with olive oil. Season lamb chops with olive oil, salt, and pepper. On stove, heat an iron skillet over high heat. Sear lamb chops for one minute per side. Transfer seared lamb chops to preheated oven to finish cooking, 15 minutes for medium rare.

Spoon puréed vegetables onto plate and arrange chops on top. Serve immediately.


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