Posted on 17 July 2010 by

Grilled Lamb chops with Smoked Tomato-Eggplant Relish

lamb-recipeBy David Harbilas

Smoking tomatoes adds a barbecue flavor one wouldn’t expect, and the deep flavor of eggplant holds up well to the sweetness.

Smoking isn’t a technical process, though it does take a while and requires a smoker of some sort.

The electric ones are convenient for the ease of use, as they regulate the temperature for you.

But the low-tech versions, which are little more than a charcoal grill with a side compartment attached for the smoke to originate in and move into the main grill area, offer a slower, more tactile approach.

Serves 4

  • 8 lamb chops
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 large eggplant, diced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Prepare your smoker to the manufacturers directions; or prepare a small set of charcoals with 4-6 large chunks of apple or cherry wood soaked in water for 12-24 hours. Place the coals in the small side compartment of the smoker and put 2 of the wood blocks on the coals.

Meanwhile, cut the plum tomatoes in half lengthwise, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the tomato halves, cut side up, on the grill grate and close the cover. Let the tomatoes smoke for at least 1 hour and as many as 4 hours, checking the coals and wood blocks every 45 minutes. Replace the wood blocks as needed, if the smoke diminishes and the wood burns out.

Remove the tomatoes and cool completely. While the tomatoes are smoking, prepare the rest of the relish. In a saucepan sauté the shallots in olive oil over medium-high heat until soft. Add the eggplant and cook until soft, about 4-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add more oil if necessary.

Add the lemon juice, balsamic, and basil and remove from the heat. Once the tomatoes are cool, chop them roughly and add to the eggplant mixture. Prepare a grill for the lamb chops. Rub the chops with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chops for 2-3 minutes each side for medium rare. Serve with the relish.

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