A couple of weeks ago during a trip to Los Angeles, I bumped into rock star chef Kerry Simon at every kitchen fanatic’s dream bookstore, The Cook’s Library. What elevates Kerry to rock star status? Well, how about the fact that Rolling Stone tagged him with the unofficial title “Rock ‘n’ Roll Chef.” OK, that reason ALONE is enough for me to swoon all over him.
Chef Kerry Simon
My brother Jay and I met up with one of Jay’s friends, who has a Hollywood job so bizarre HE HAD TO WHISPER IT IN MY EAR, and so our hodgepodge group – a food writer, a cardiologist and a … um … let’s call him a “gay reality show researcher,” dined at Simon LA, Kerry’s signature restaurant.
I have a love-hate relationship with restaurant reviews. I love it when it’s a great restaurant and the critic’s eloquent trail of words tickles my taste buds and seduces me onto the plate. But you know what? It’s like the biggest frustrating tease when the restaurant is 2,471 miles away, and there’s no way to actually enjoy the meal in person!
I’m not going to tantalize you with play-by-play of my four-course meal, which would be cruel because it was totally rock-star phenomenal. Instead, I’m doing one better. I called Kerry up and asked for a recipe. He obliged and sent along his Lamb Chops with Curried Pears.
One thing about restaurant chefs giving you recipes is that they normally feed, like, 50 people, and some of the cooking techniques may be a bit difficult for home cooks. So, I’ve simplified his recipe and scaled it down so you’re not inviting all the families within a 2-mile radius to dinner.
I think you’ll really enjoy it. Chef Kerry is a master of taking a few simple ingredients and coaxing the flavors and textures into something so sublime, surprising and sexy.
To core a pear, lop off the top and the very bottom of the pear. Cut the pear in half, starting from the top at the stem end. Since I don’t have a melon baller, I used my measuring spoon – the 1-teaspoon spoon was the perfect size and shape to remove the core. Cut cored pear into wedges, lengthwise. You can cook with apples instead of pears; just increase the cooking time by 10 minutes.
The jalapeno pepper is to flavor the butter so that you get a subtle, spicy tingle on your lips instead of a jab-in-the-mouth type of spicy. If you want spicy, add another jalapeno.
inspired by Kerry Simon
12 single lamb chops
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sprig rosemary, leaves torn off stem
1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon table salt)
For the spicy pears:
21/2 tablespoons butter
1 jalapeno pepper, quartered, seeds removed
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 pears, cored and cut into 6 wedges each
Slather the lamb chops with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and rosemary. Let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes to overnight in the refrigerator.
In the meantime, make the spicy pears. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter, and when the butter is bubbling add the jalapeno pepper and the curry powder. Saute for 1 minute, until the curry and pepper is fragrant. Take care not to burn the mix; you may have to turn the heat down. Whisk in the lime juice, honey and the soy. Add the pears and stir to coat the pears. Cover, turn the heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes until the pears are softened. Discard the jalapeno peppers.
Season the lamb chops with salt. Heat a frying pan over high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the lamb chops in a single layer, not touching. Fry for 2-3 minutes each side, depending on thickness of the lamb chops.
Serve with spicy pears. Makes 4 servings.
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