Only in art will the lion lie down with the lamb, and the rose grow without thorn.
~Martin Amis

TANDOORI LAMB LOIN CHOPS

10 lamb loin chops, about 1 1/2″ thick

1/2 C garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 C fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
2 T peanut oil

1/2 C scallions, chopped
2 C plain yogurt
2 T honey
2 t garam masala*
1/2 T paprika
1/2 T turmeric
1/2 T cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 T coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 C packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 T sea salt
1/2 T freshly ground pepper

Put the garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse the machine on and off until the ingredients are finely minced. With the machine running, drizzle the oil through the feed tube. Add the scallions, yogurt, honey, garam masala, paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cilantro, salt and pepper and process until smooth.

Pour the mixture over the chops and turn them to coat both sides. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Season the chops on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Preheat charcoal grill to medium high heat. Bring the marinated lamb chops to room temperature. Grill the lamb for 5 to 6 minutes on each side for medium rare. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the lamb chops and the heat of the grill. Let the lamb rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

* See Garam Marsala post

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A tandoor is a cylindrical clay pot used in south Asian cuisine, notably (but not limited to) northern India and Pakistan, in which food is cooked over hot charcoal or wooden fire at high temperatures. The earthen oven is commonly sunk neck deep in the ground. Strictly speaking, Tandoori simply describes a dish cooked in a tandoor, which can include meats, fish, poultry or breads…but, in western parlance the term has seemed to have been enlarged to include a spice mix, which varies from kitchen to kitchen. Not having a true tandoor at hand—which would no doubt violate numerous building codes—this is the closest we can get.

SEARED YELLOWTAIL TUNA TANDOORI

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2 T tandoori spices*
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 (4 oz) yellowtail tuna filets, fat and skin trimmed away
2 plump, fresh garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1/2 C rice wine vinegar
1 T honey
1/2 t mirin
1 C extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 C cilantro leaves
2 C watercress
1/2 C arugula

Lemon zest

In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, honey, mirin, salt and pepper. In a steady, narrow stream, slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly. Set aside.

In a bowl, place olive oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of the tandoori, salt and pepper. Rub the top of each filet with the smashed garlic, season with salt, pepper and the rest of the tandoori on both sides. Then dip the filets in the bowl, coating both sides evenly. Reserve the remaining flavored oil for sauce.

Place a heavy skillet over medium to medium high heat, and sear the tuna filets gently, approximately 2 minutes on each side. When done, the tuna should be rare in the middle but not cold. (Alternatively, the tuna could be grilled over a charcoal or wood fire prepared to medium high heat to loosely imitate a tandoor.)

Toss greens with vinaigrette, arrange tuna over, and then drizzle reserved sauce over the top. Grate a touch of lemon zest over each filet before serving.

*Tandoori Spices

2 T coriander seeds
2 T cumin seeds
1 T cardamom seeds

3 T sweet paprika
2 T turmeric
2 T sea salt
1 T freshly ground black pepper
1 T ground ginger
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t cayenne pepper

Strew the coriander, cumin and cardamom seeds in a dry heavy skillet over medium heat and roast for a few minutes until essences are released. Place in a spice or coffee grinder and reduce to a powder. Then, place in a bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix well. Stores well tightly covered in a cool, dry place.

Dry Rub A Dub

February 6, 2009

The food in such places is so tasteless because the members associate spices and garlic with just the sort of people they’re trying to keep out.
~Calvin Trillin

Today, spring-like weather bathed the city, evoking the seductive melody of vividly blossoming daffodils, azaleas, red buds, lilacs, forsythia…coupled with the aroma of active grills and barbeques.

A dry rub is simply a mélange of spices and herbs that imparts variegated flavors, scents and textures to meat, even the occasional vegetable. They are not to be confused with (but sometimes are married to) their moist but equally alluring cousins—marinades, glazes, sauces, wet rubs, bastes, sops, or mops. Only imagination limits the composition of your rubs, so put the grey matter to work and concote your own favorites.

With all of these rubs, first combine dry ingredients in a bowl or jar. Rub cut fresh, plump, cut garlic cloves into meat. Then gently massage the combined dry rub ingredients into the meat tissues. Let stand for an hour or more before cooking.

Ancho, Coffee and Cocoa Rub

2 T ancho chili powder
2 T instant espresso powder
2 T golden or dark brown sugar
1 T cocoa
1 T ground coriander
1 T dried oregano
2 t salt
1 T black pepper and/or white pepper
1/2 t cayenne pepper

Basic Barbeque Rub

2 T sea salt
4 T light brown sugar
1/4 t ground cinnamon
2 T ground cumin
2 T coriander
1 T ground cardamom
3 T pimentón or smoked paprika
2 t dry mustard
1 T ancho chili powder
1 T chipotle chili powder
3 T freshly ground pepper
1/2 T white pepper
3 t cayenne pepper

Tandoori Rub

6 T sweet paprika
2 T ground coriander
2 T ground cumin
1 T ground cardamom
1 T turmeric
2 T sea salt
1 T freshly ground black pepper
1 T sugar
1 T ground ginger
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t crumbled saffron threads (optional)
1 t cayenne pepper