Cheese and chops make a winning combination Entertaining: Grilled lamb chops with Roquefort and figs is a flavorful entree sure to please guests. You don't need to tell them how easy the dish is to make.

October 04, 1998|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

My husband is an aficionado of all blue cheeses. Whether Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola or Saga Blue, he loves the assertive taste of these blue-veined varieties. He also adores lamb chops, ordering them without fail whenever he sees them on a menu. Imagine his delight recently when I offered him a new dish that included both these ingredients.

My creation was a last-minute inspiration for a small dinner party. had decided to serve grilled lamb chops as the main course, and while at the market, the idea to top cooked chops with some crumbled Roquefort and sliced, dried figs came to mind. At home I soaked Black Mission figs in warm red wine, then combined them with bits of blue cheese and chopped rosemary. After marinating the lamb in wine, olive oil and herbs, I grilled the meat and added the garnish.

My spouse as well as our friends savored every mouthful of the delectable lamb. The slightly charred meat topped with the mixture of salty cheese, sweet fruit and robust rosemary was an unbeatable combination. I was so pleased with the results that I am planning to serve the chops again when entertaining. Because this recipe is so simple and quick to assemble, I plan to use it when I am short on time, yet want an impressive entree. Small red-skin potatoes tossed with butter and herbs and sauteed zucchini would make fine accompaniments to the lamb.

Lamb Chops With Roquefort, Figs and Rosemary

Serves 4

LAMB CHOPS:

1/4 cup dry red wine

3 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried

Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

Scant 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

12 rib lamb chops, about 3/4 inch thick (1 3/4 to 2 pounds total), trimmed of excess fat

TOPPING:

1/2 cup dry red wine

12 dried Black Mission figs

4 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried

Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish, optional

To prepare lamb chops, combine wine, olive oil, rosemary, thyme and salt and pepper in bowl. Place chops in shallow nonreactive dish or in large, self-sealing plastic bag. Pour in marinade. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or longer.

Meanwhile, to prepare topping, heat wine until hot. Place figs and wine in small bowl and soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Remove figs, pat dry, then cut lengthwise into thin slivers. In bowl, combine figs, cheese and 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary. Set aside.

When ready to cook steaks, oil rack, arrange 5 inches from heat source and prepare grill. When hot, remove meat from marinade and grill about 3 minutes per side or until just pink in center. Watch carefully - time can vary depending on type of grill used and intensity of heat. Remove chops to serving platter. Top each with generous tablespoon of cheese/fig mixture. Garnish chops

with rosemary sprigs.

Note: Chops can also be broiled. Arrange rack 5 inches from heat. Place chops on broiling pan and broil about 3 minutes per side or until just pink in center.

Pub Date: 10/04/98

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