cumin lamb chops with aubergine

Lindsey Bareham

Treating lamb chops like escalopes — pounding them until very thin and cooking quickly on a griddle or barbecue — is an idea I picked up years ago from the chef Theo Randall, ex-River Café and now InterContinental. Dusting them with cumin adds a haunting flavour that goes well with aubergine. Grilling aubergines then mashing the smoky flesh with garlic, lemon and olive oil results in a silky take on hummus. I like this combo with a lemon wedge and new potatoes.

serves 2, prep 20 min, cook 25 min

4 lamb chops or cutlets
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tbsp olive oil
1 medium aubergine (300g)
2 garlic cloves
2 lemons
3-4 tbsp best olive oil

Place the chops on a chopping board, cover with clingfilm and pound gently with a rolling pin until the meat is evenly thin, about ½ cm. Smear with olive oil, dust with cumin and set aside. Pierce the aubergine a few times and place under a hot grill, turning regularly, until the skin is scorched and saggy. Hold by the stalk over a sieve, quarter to the base and leave to drain.

Scrape the flesh off the skin and place in a food processor bowl with garlic, the juice of half a lemon, a pinch of cumin, salt, pepper and one tablespoon of olive oil. Pulse, adding enough olive oil to make a fluffy puree. Adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon. For juicy pink meat, cook the cutlets for 1 min a side at a high temperature on a griddle or barbecue. Rest briefly, salt before serving with a scoop of aubergine and a lemon wedge.