lamb chops with pistachio tapenade

One thing I am realizing about going a long time without eating meat (15 years) followed by a relatively short time eating as a moderately enthusiastic meat eater (5 years and change) is that it doesn’t always occur to you to include it in meals. In fact, I have apparently only made four dishes on the site this year that include meat, and two were briskets for big dinner parties. With a fridge bursting (literally; if you can find room for a jar of mayo in there, you’d be my hero) with spinach and scallions, radishes, real baby carrots, sugar snaps, shelling peas and tiny freshly-dug red potatoes rolling off the top, I can hardly imagine why I’d need to roast a chicken. But when I was going through my (very, very, very long) list of Recipes I Want To Try last week, these lamb chops jumped out at me, promising to at least temporarily break me out of my asparagus — hashed! ribboned! tossed with pasta for one! — rut.

toasted pistachios
flat-leaf parsley

There were three big sells on this recipe for me, the first being Anne Burrell: I love everything she cooks. The second was that these chops are entirely in the kitchen and I had no idea you could make great lamb chops without a grill. Related, reason three is that, I only recently discovered that I like, nay, love lamb chops. Adore them. In fact, I think my enjoyment of lamb chops — versus dabbling in ribs or a vague appreciation of steak — is pretty much the only thing that makes me a “real” meat eater these days, which I define as liking the taste of something so much, you’d even enjoy it plainly, just salt and pepper on a grill. That’s love, right?

capers, pistachios, olives, parsley, garlic

lamb chops

Fortunately, this recipe has a little fun with them, smearing them, once browned, with a olive-pistachio-lemon zest and garlic tapenade that you can whiz up in no time in a food processor. Chops are browned for two minutes on each side in a pan, slathered with the tapenade and baked for five minutes to utter lamb perfection — the whole dish can literally be pulled off in 30 minutes, leaving time for the important stuff, like sitting in the grass, and pondering how your thighs got so awesome. What, you don’t do that too?

browned chops, with tapenade
my chops

One year ago: Lemon Mint Granita
Two years ago: S’More Pie
Three years ago: Black-Bottomed Cupcakes

Lamb Chops with Pistachio Tapenade
Barely tweaked from Anne Burrell

1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and toasted
1/2 cup pitted green (what I used) or Cerignola (what Burrell recommends) olives
2 tablespoons capers
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon freshly chopped oregano leaves (nixed because mine had gone bad)
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, zested
1 (8-rib) rack of lamb or 6 lamb chops
Freshly ground black pepper*

To make the pistachio tapenade: In a food processor combine the pistachios, olives, capers, garlic, herbs and puree. While the machine is running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until the mixture becomes a paste. Add the zest and pulse 1 more time, drizzling in more oil if necessary. Reserve until ready to use.

If using a rack of ribs: Remove 2 rib bones from the 8 rib rack to make it a 6-rib rack. Counting from either end, remove the 2nd and 7th bones; this will create 6 even chops that are thicker than a normal lamb chop. Cut 6 even chops.

Cook your chops: Season your six lamb chops generously on either side with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Allow them to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a large saute pan generously with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the lamb chops and cook for about 2 minutes on each side to brown. If the pan begins to smoke, lower the heat. The chops should be beautifully caramelized on both sides. Remove the chops to a sheet pan and schmear generously with the pistachio tapenade. Place in preheated oven and cook another 4 to 5 minutes for medium rare. Remove chops from oven and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

* My addition. Does anyone know why not a single Anne Burrell recipe calls for black pepper, only salt? I would love to hear your theories!

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217 comments on lamb chops with pistachio tapenade

  1. Jules

    Perhaps she, like me, sneezes when she eats black pepper.
    I’m not sure if this reaction is a psychological one, stemming from my childhood dislike of any food which wasn’t white (I survived until age 5 on only chicken breast, cream of wheat, and milk… and probably air), or if it’s real. But I sneeze anytime black pepper finds its way onto my plate.

  2. New reader here! I love your site and plan to try some of your recipes. Your food photography is great, as is the design of the site. (I notice these things and they keep readers coming back!)

    Also, I see we share a love of Global knives. Is that the 10″ Chef’s knife I see in the above photo? :)

    Well done!

  3. Judy

    I think I remember her saying once that she doesn’t like the taste of pepper and rarely uses it. If she wants heat, she uses crushed red flakes.

    She did make a recipe recently where she actually used black pepper and commented that it’s one of the very few times where she uses it.

  4. Lamb! I have so far chickened (heh heh) out every time I think I want to cook lamb. We were going to buy a grill this weekend, actually, you’ve inspired me to try the other red meat.

  5. Carla

    Hi Deb! Love the tapenade! Any tips for a vegetarianized version to smear it on and bake? I think potatoes?
    Love the lil´man in the grass!

  6. Oh pepper! I have no answers, only wonder as well! I will put pepper on most ANYTHING- meat, veggies, mac & cheese. Sometimes Kettle salt + pepper chips are all I need.

  7. Erica

    I worked as a food editor at a magazine that is now closed and we met with Anne Burrell once at the office. She told us she simply does not like black pepper. That’s why she almost never uses it and you won’t find it in the majority of her recipes. Sort of strange for a chef to have such an aversion…

  8. Richard

    I’m going to have to remember this tapenade, I’d love to sous vide and torch the chops to do them a bit rare-r and top with that glorious pistachio smear!

  9. Tig

    These look delicious! In answering your question about Anne’s lack of Black Pepper in her cooking. I heard her once say on her TV show that she almost never uses it. I wish I could remember the exact reason why. I just remember that it stuck in my memory and this was at least two years ago. I believe it was her segment on making carbonara.

  10. Tig

    It seems that there is no video link to that segment, and I know that she does use it in that recipe. It must have something to do with it being a focused ingredient rather that one that gets muddled in with many others.

  11. As a card carrying vegetarian (well, not really, but I’m just shy of 20 years), I was wondering if you had suggestions for other things that the tapenade could be used on. It looks like it would be a useful addition to my recipes.

    1. deb

      Vegetarian suggestions for the tapenade — Thinned out, a great dressing for a bean salad. Or potato salad. Spread on toast. Tossed with pasta or even a grain. Also, I’m curious about it with a carrot salad, but that might just be because I am weird. Maybe with grilled zucchini instead?

      Black pepper — So interesting! I figured there was a reason. But I don’t think it’s nuts that a chef doesn’t like something; in fact, I’m nearly positive that even the biggest names harbor a food resentment or two. I remember Emeril saying something about dill… Ruth Reichl about honey…

      On a weirder aside — As soon as someone tells me they don’t like something, I remember it forever. I can’t remember what I have in the fridge or what I’m supposed to do this weekend, but I can remember that I have one friend who hates bananas, another that doesn’t like cake and others that have issues with tomatoes, mushrooms and/or cheese… seriously. I could go on and on.

  12. I don’t eat much meat, but I may have to make an exception for these, or at least make them for the hubs who loves lamb chops…can you believe I have never eaten a lamb chop? or lamb or any kind…really I know, hard to believe…is it just me? I must admit I do identify with the thighs though!

  13. I never even had lamb until last year – now I love it. Love the look of the olive-pistachio tapenade. I can think of a lot of uses for that. As for the black pepper, I have to question the girl’s sanity. How can one not like black pepper? If I ate cereal, I’d put it in my cereal…

  14. shannon

    I’m a vegetarian so I will pass on the lamb chops, but that tapenade looks amazing! Any ideas for other ways to use it?

  15. Lamb chops are indeed one of those meats that do not need too much seasoning, and can turn out fabulous. This is cut of meat is my favorite recommendation for someone looking to impress without having to dedicate too much work.

    I’ve been seeing quite a bit of recipes recently that have included toasted pistachios as a crust on meats. Although this is the first time I’ve seen pistachios used in a tapenade as well as a tapenade on lamb. I’m intrigued with the bright, herby flavors.

  16. I’m adding this to my list of options of what to make for Father’s Day. Love your photography and your recipe index is great – so easy to use and so enticing, I could stay here all day browsing!

  17. Momcat

    A perfect lamb chop (for me a bit more on the rare side) is as close to heaven as we can get while still alive! And olives, capers, garlic and nuts on top? That may just push it over the line! Lucky me, hubby loves lamb chops as much as I do. As for the vegetarians out there, I’d just make up a gallon or so of tapenade and buy out the local flat-breadery! I’ll bet it would be wonderful drizzled over hot grilled vegetables – zucchini comes to mind, or asparagus! Hmm, I’m getting hungry…

  18. Just wanted to say that I whole heartedly love your site and hope to someday have my Food Fridays as glamorous as your whole site. Onto the recipe- that Tapenade looks amazing and is going on my list of this to try next week :)

  19. Deb thank you so much! I am a faithful fan of Smitten Kitchen but have long wished for more meat recipes. You literally got me to buy a crock pot. Not kidding. We have many of the same feelings about food so it was such a great surprise to see a meat recipe. The ones you have put up have been WONDERFUL! I cannot wait to try the lamb! Thank you again! Please please please keep the amazing meat recipes coming! I love the site!

  20. p.s. love that about your recipes – the vegetarian aspect, as a meat lover who tries to cook it only once a week you set a good example. the asperagus pizza was DOPE as was an older recipe for artichoke tapenade i found here.
    i’ve been reading for a while, never comment, but you have a big fan over here in redhook brooklyn :)

  21. Lisa

    YUM. Feel free to post meaty recipes anytime…much as I love my veggies and desserts, I love new chicken/pork/beef recipes, too! I also adore Anne Burrell. As others have mentioned, she uses crushed red and not pepper (I can’t remember what for, but I’ve only seen her use it once, and it was begrudgingly because the recipe was very traditional). That aside, I’ve enjoyed everything of hers I’ve made (and the horrified look on my bird-etarian roommate’s face when Anne butchered a chicken…) and this looks like a good first lamb dish for me to make! And I’m with you on remembering friends’ food preferences–two of my friends don’t like onions, and my boyfriend can’t eat raw peppers…both of which pain me to abide by.

  22. I love lamb. And I have a package of lamb chops in my fridge ready to be consumed. And now I have a recipe. I’ll probably cook them on the grill because it is already well over 75 degrees and it is only 9:45.

  23. Dani

    Love Lamb. And goat. Lamb and goat are far superior to any of the standard meats (i.e. beef,pork,chicken) in my book. Will have to try this.

  24. Francheska

    I’ve never eaten lamb, I cant convince my mom to buy any cut, her eyes pop out of their sockets as soon as she sees the price, I definitely have to find a way to convince her for this. I bet your photos will be enough persuasion

    About likes and dislikes, I can’t get over the fact that my boyfriend A MAN hates bacon I think it’s an outrage

  25. dcm58

    schmear — love. it.
    this looks to die for. I am not a vegetarian, but I just really don’t like meat all that much. I may try lamb chops after seeing this recipe!

  26. SP

    Thank you for the vegetarian suggestions! Deb, fitting of you to point out that you’ve only posted 4 non-vegetarian recipes this year, I’ve actually come to think of (and categorize) your blog as a vegetarian food blog (and I love that)!

    I like Erica’s suggestion (#54): tapenade on eggplant. Might have to try this tonight. I wonder what’d happen if I substituted walnuts for pistachios, would it hold up?

  27. Elizabeth E.

    I am a proud omnivore so I do love a meat recipe now and again, but your “asparagus rut” is nothing short of magnificent to me. We had the ribboned asparagus pizza on Wednesday night for dinner and it was a smash! Loved it!

    On another note, I love lamb chops too and as great as that tapenade looks I must say my favorite way to cook lamb chops is salt and pepper seasoned and pan fried in a little extra virgin olive oil to a beautiful medium rare. (I also have an awesome tarragon and sour cream recipe for lamb chops, but it takes more time.)

  28. Susan

    I spent the summer I was 11 with my 3 (ancient) maiden Aunts at their camp in the Adirondacks. It was the summer of Lamb. It was the most gamey, horrid tasting stuff you could imagine and they thought they needed it for whatever health fad was popular with their set at the time. I’m still that scrunchy faced, sullen 11 yr old when it comes to lamb and just can’t grow up about it! Awful, I know. The tapanade I can get behind, and the pistachios make this sound wonderful. Can’t wait to try it.

  29. I’m a new convert to lamb, so I haven’t cooked it myself yet. I think I’m still going to make the pistachio pesto and use it on bruschetta somehow.
    Anne Burrell was interviewed the Martha Stewart Sirius station before Thanksgiving last year, and a guy called in and basically asked her questions about her cooking style, not about Thanksgiving or anything relevant to the show. It was a little odd. But he did ask about black pepper, and if I remember right, she said something about how she thinks it’s very overused in most recipes.

  30. Deb, I am just the same! I was a vegetarian for 10 years and have been eating meat for almost 3. But I never think of it when I’m just cooking for myself. And I’m now realizing that I have like three posts, if that, that deal with meat-centric dishes. Funny, one of them happens to be the amazing grilled lamb chops we made a few weeks ago. I bet your tapanade would have been great with them. Anyway… I’m off to find something once-alive to make for dinner!

  31. this week is the first week in a month that i’ve eaten meat. which , for those of you going years (how?? how??!!!) probably is nothing, but it was hard work, people. the first thing i ate on June 1 was a big ol’ burger, and then wednesday i made lamburgers. yum. i’m sure a lamb chop variation will show itself soon, just not one with olives :(.

  32. Lyra

    Nice to know that Anne’s got her share of food no-nos! My personal one is blue food. Doesn’t matter if it’s blue M&Ms or blueberries. If it’s blue (even purplish blue) I won’t eat it.

    That aside, the lamb chops look delicious!

  33. Charlotte

    I love the tapenade recipe (and the lovely picture of the tapenade ingredients). I make tapenade a lot and never thought of using pistachios – sounds yummy! I read the recipe to my husband and he loves the idea too – just not on lamb chops. His will be a veggie alternative – me I’m thinking of going with the lamb. And Jacob in the grass is just toooo cute. The hair, the thighs….adorable! (Thanks for sharing!)

  34. WineGirl

    I don’t think it is weird, Deb, that you have a great memory for friends’ food dislikes. I have a horrible memory for everything else on the planet, but because I love to cook for my friends, the first thing I always have to think of, is who is coming and what won’t they eat? And damn as a group they are picky! No tomatoes for one, no fish for a few, no cucumbers for that one, and no capers or olives for Dad! I love the challenge though! I love your recipes, because I’ll eat just about anything and you inspire me and my tiny little kitchen to try new ideas. Thanks!

  35. I totally relate! I was vegetarian for 13 years, have been eating meet for about 3 now, and lamb is one of the few things I cannot get enough of (in the once a week I eat meat.)

    I cannot wait to try this; thank you!

  36. Jasmine

    I’ve recently stumbled across your blog. I thoroughly enjoy reading every post. You have a brilliant way with words. Very smooth,cohesive and exciting. And your recipes thrill me. Keep up the good work!! You make me want to be more adventurous with cooking.

  37. These look wonderful. I’m also an ex-vegetarian who has fallen in love with lamb chops — I’m been seasoning them with preserved lemons and garlic, grilling them, and serving them with harissa.

  38. Deb, interesting that you remember people’s food likes/dislikes as well. I recently brought food to a party, and just before adding in the cilantro I remembered that one of the couples that would be attending (of 4) hated it. I left it out so that everyone could enjoy the food rather than show up with something they’d pass on.

    It’s not so much that I’m trying to play to everyone’s likes as it is I don’t want to have someone leave hungry. I love to feed people, and I want them to leave satisfied.

  39. NicM

    I’ve done lamb chops with pesto that were great so I bet these would be too. Lamb is one of my favorites and lucky me it’s very easy to get here in Colorado. One of my friends won’t eat any meat on the bone! No wings, no chops, no ribs, no t-bone steaks, oh it’s so sad.

  40. Jacqueline

    I am the only person I know who literally chokes if black pepper is in the food I eat. The worst is freshly ground black pepper. I found this out once by eating one bite of goulash that was spiked with black pepper. My eyes water, my nose runs and I cough for a long time. Ultra embarrassing if I am with others at the table. I try to avoid black pepper if at all possible. I don’t do well with chile peppers either. Just a wimp, I guess!

  41. WendyJill

    Deb — it is not weird to think of using this tapenade on carrot salad. One of my favorite chefs, Patrick O’Connell has a wonderful recipe for pistachio crusted rack of lamb atop a ginger carrot sauce (greatly reduced carrot juice, ginger and lots of butter). It is fantastic – we’ve served it many times at dinner parties, to rave reviews. Can’t wait to try your version!

  42. Well, I am a meat lover actually (provided I have access to good quality meat – otherwise I prefer vegetarian dishes), and your lamb idea with pistachio tapenade is outstanding for summertime. Lamb chops is my favorite lamb preparation because it is quick, and in addition, here in Paris, at Rue de l’Abbe Gregoire our, butcher, Mr Bajon, spoils us with lamb meat of excellent quality.

  43. I’ve made both a normal batch and a double batch of last week’s carrot salad, so the idea of the tapenade as a carrot salad mixin sounds perfectly fine in my book!

  44. terri

    lamb chops don’t fit into a grad student budget, so i appreciate the suggestions for other options for the tapenade.

    sadly, i live on the opposite side of the country, or i’d volunteer to fit that jar of mayo into your fridge for you. when i was growing up, my parents’ fridge was always so full that pouring a glass of milk required excavating a new spot in the fridge in order to put the milk back in–so a jar of mayo would be easy! :)

  45. Symphonic Chef

    I also memorize my friends’ food dislikes! I’ve got a mushroom-hating friend, an olive and egg-hating friend…. even a chocolate-hating friend (obviously not female!) I think I do it so as to avoid cooking them something they find foul, but still it seems a bit of a strange thing to crowd my limited brain-space with!

  46. Anne’s recipes are great. She often uses red pepper flakes in lieu of black pepper. Ironically, I made this recipe on Sunday for some friends. I had pine nuts on hand so we used them instead of the pistachios. Delish! I like the technique of removing every other bone to create a meatier chop.

  47. Isabella

    Just ate this. Very good. The tapenade would be amazing tossed with some boiled potatoes or rice! I also love all the veggie ideas, but I’ve been low on iron and wanted some red meat tonight. It was perfect when I saw this on your page. Thanks!

  48. Mel

    Dear Deb,
    If you’re looking for a lower sodium option for the tapenade, so tapenade sans olives and capers, what would be a good substitute?

  49. Cynthia W.

    I would just like to say you are not the only person going through an asparagus rut a casualty of the season!! Although I am loving it, I have included it in almost every other meal, it is getting a little crazy: asparagus omelets, asparagus in my salads, pasta with Parmesan & butter sauce with asparagus, grilled asparagus, asparagus stir frys…the list goes on.

  50. Your tempenade recipe looks devine! What a great idea for lamb chops. I don’t eat meat, but I have to cook it often for my friends, so this looks like a great new recipe to try.

  51. I love lamb in any anll forms but lamb chops are my absolute fave meal ever. I flatten them, coat them in a very yummy herb crumb then bake them in the oven for 10 or so minutes. Delicious and a family favourite – the kids love when we have ‘meat with a handle’ for dinner :)

  52. Rescie Cook

    I eagerly await your e-mail. As I rapidly pass over business e-mails to get to yours, I am excited. I’m running out right now to buy lamb chops.

    For me this is a big thing and a huge departure. I love the taste of lamb but very, very seldom allow myself the luxury because I lived in GB for quite a few years and would drive out into the countryside in the Spring to visit friends. There would be adorable lambs gamboling all over and so, I quit eating lamb much to the astomishment of my Brit friends. I could see them while I’d be preparing the lamb and eventually quit eating lamb altogether. However, I can’t resist this recipe; it has all the ingredients that I love all in one recipe.

    Loved the Root Beer cupcakes. Never saw a cupcake playing in a field.

  53. homemadehay

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I often eat like one (when we do eat meat, lamb chops are in the regular rotation). A good vegetarian way to use the tapenade would be to smear it on pizza dough and then top with chunks sharp white cheddar, blue cheese, or whatever suits your fancy and bake. The best pizza is not overwhelmed with cheese. In fact, I think I’m going to make that for dinner tonight!

  54. I’m a vegetarian, and I thought I’d add to the conversation that I LOVE that you hardly ever post about meat dishes, and even when you do, they often include some component (like the pistachio tapenade in this case) that can be used in vegetarian dishes, too. Thanks for writing a great blog! I can’t wait for your cookbook.

  55. Debora

    Love your name and love your blog!!! Just made the root beer float cupcakes which were devoured by a houseful of 20-year-olds who sat in a circle around a cake plate of cupcakes and passed an aerosol can (yeah, I know) of organic whipped cream and a bowl of cherries around…you’d have thought they were imbibing something illegal…..I will be making this tapenade tonight but will use it with some chicken I have. Thanks so much for these daily great ideas…

  56. Your lamb recipe looks simply fabulous, and I can think of about one million ways to use that tapenade (three of them not appropriate for all audiences.) You have a wonderful blog- and welcome back to the Carnivore Life. It’s where all the cool kids hang out.


  57. Normally I season with freshly ground white pepper when cooking. Black pepper will be for the table when serving, but you’re right, SOME pepper is a must!

  58. This looks stupendous! I’ve been making something rather similar with lamb chops, pesto, and olives, but the use of pistachios in a kind of herby pesto/tapenade is definitely something to try. Love it.

  59. Rocky

    Used toasted almonds instead of pistachios and cilantro instead of parsley. Added juiced lemon. O my. Everyone here was happy. Thanks.

  60. Rachel

    Made these tonight, and they were AMAZING! First time I’ve ever cooked lamb chops, too. I can definitely see using the tapenade for all sorts of dishes. Sooooo yummy!

  61. Sarah

    I love love love this idea! I can’t wait to try it myself. I might skip the pepper since it burns so easily but I usually add to taste when serving. What would you suggest to serve with this wonderful dish, I was thinking baked hot radishes and sweet potatoes!?

  62. Rhonda

    This really looks good but it lost me at olives. I can stand and stare at the olive bar wondering why I don’t like them when there are so many choices. And yes, I remember everyone’s dislikes too, but I am always amazed that my own family still thinks I should like olives-had to remind my sister to leave a portion off a side dish for me last week.

  63. This was excellent! The chops I bought at the Farmer’s Market were a little fatty so I will be much more selective next time. I loved the tapenade.

  64. Your lamb chops look perfect. This recipe reminds me of the time I tried to make a pistachio tapenade and shelled exactly 150 pistachios (I said I would stop when I reached 150). Now I can find them already shelled!!

  65. Hi Deb – Anne says on her show that she doesn’t like black pepper, and never adds it to recipes unless it’s absolutely, positively necessary.
    The lamb chops look fabulous: definitely on the menu this week!
    Thanks always, Julie

  66. Resa

    I read this website all the time, but this is my first time to comment. I
    I’m a vegetarian and I think the tapenade looks a great! What a great twist on the classic kalamata tapenade.

  67. All I know is that if we saw this on a restaurant menu, my wife and I would fight over who got to order it. (Ok, not fight really… but…)

  68. Charlotte

    I made it tonight and it was delicious. For my non-red meat eating man, I schmeared the tapenade on a chicken breast which he declared delish as well. Thanks!

  69. Those lamb chops look incredible and the pistachio tapenade looks even more wonderful! Glad you decided to give these a go, my mouth is just watering looking at them… :) Nice to see from some other comments too, that this tapenade is versatile and would go with other meats!

  70. jackie

    I love lamb too, this looks great. I can’t wait to try it. I’m having some friends over next weekend for Glasgow West End Festival……now I know that we’ll be eating, thanks Debs

  71. This photography is actually amazing. I love the look of it and it has inspired me to try it.

    There are so many recipes out there and the photography really does count on first impressions.

    Food For Think

  72. I just recently discovered Anne Burrell – she cooked this maple cayenne glazed chicken a while back that was easy and AMAZING. Anyway, even more amazing are lamb chops. I have cooked them a very similar way, (in the pan 2 minutes each side, finishing in the oven) and every time I swoon over them. Lamb might even top beef as my favorite meat. Might. It’s a close race. I love this pistachio tapenade…we get another whole lamb this next weekend (hooray for local organic ranchers/farmers!), and I think I’ll try this on some chops! Yum.

  73. Hi Deb!
    I’m Maria, an italian girl who is a big disaster in the kitchen,I’m trying to redeem myself from this status and I want to tell you that I learn a lot from your blog, thank you for sharing your talent with us(and sorry for the bad english!)!

  74. VSE

    I imagine this tapenade would also be good on fish, or stuffed under the skin of a chicken for roasting, or mixed gently with flaked up egg yolks so you still see the yellow and piled back into whites. And maybe a scatter of un-tapenaded ground pistachios and minced parsley for pretty. Virtual hugs to Jacob, if you permit.

  75. I keep seeing references to your blog on so many other food blogs, I just had to check you out. I see why, now, that so many people talk about your blog. It’s lovely. Gorgeous photos and, I have to try these lamb chops. I’ve been in love with pistachios ever since my Dad used to send them to us when he worked in Iran.

  76. My husband is the steak-maker in our family, using the sear-in-a-pan and transfer to oven method, and he stopped using black pepper because he learned that the larger cracked kernels burn and become very un-tasty when the meat is seared in a hot pan. So we only salt before searing; pepper comes after it’s cooked.

  77. Ashley

    Delish, however, do you think this would also be as good on pork chops? Or chicken? Maybe pork tenderloin? My boyfriend and I recently gave up beef and lamb, not because we don’t LOVE the taste– environmental reasons, and I love the idea of this! Otherwise, we’ll try it with some yummy pasta. Thanks!!

  78. Victoria

    My husband and I made this last night because your pictures looked so beautiful and we love lamb. We made the tapenade exactly as you laid it out here; my husband and I both love olives and pistachios so we thought it would be wonderful.

    For some reason, we didn’t really care for the tapenade and ended up pushing it off of our lamb chops. It’s pretty strange because even though I’m very likely to dislike sauces and purees, my husband is usually very open minded and loves all kinds of sauces. I could tell he didn’t really care for the tapenade, even though he liked everything that went into it. Oh well, you can’t win them all. The chops were still delicious.

    I love all your baking recipes though…those we can’t get enough of!

  79. Hi! You are my favourite person in the whole world!!
    I just tried this… marvel. This… experience to the senses. Oh, my God! Just can`t believe it!

    I ran out of black pepper and used Jamaica pepper instead. Whoa!!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank You!!

    I will recommend this site to everybody!

  80. Shayna

    Pistachio tapenade, OH MY!

    I think it would be just fantastic for vegetarian option – smeared on a roasted portabello mushroom sandwich or a lentil/sprouted bean veggie burger or MOZZARELLA sandwich instead of pesto. Marinated baked tofu? The dressing grain option with wheat berries. This sounds absolutely amazing. I have some pistachio oil in my pantry too!!!! I am so excited must make tonight :)

  81. giselle

    It’s odd, but I’m with Anne on this one. I almost always skip the black pepper in recipes, partly because I don’t love it, partly because in too high quantities it upsets my tummy (think fancy steakhouses that put way too much pepper on their steaks), and partly because I just don’t think food needs it in most instances. This recipe looks awesome – will try!

  82. Tracy

    I made this recipe tonight… was awesome! My husband and I loved it and I’ll definitely will be making it again. Thanks for a great dinner idea.

  83. Olga

    The pepper thing makes me think of Lewis Carrol, of course. The recipe sounds wonderful. Just need some pistachios. Can’t wait!

    I’m on a journey towards vegetarianism and love this site precisely bc it doesn’t have so many meaty recipes. Meat is nice, but veg is better. Except when we’re talking about lamb chops, you’re quite right there.

  84. Wow – I had german braised lamb chops for lunch. I was a bit hesitant to have the chops cooked that much, but they were fabulous. It looks as though you cook yours more than med. rare? Until my lunch today, I thought I wouldn’t eat lamb chops more than med. rare.

    I can’t wait to taste the flavor melding here.

  85. Sandy

    This was excellent! I made it last week and am doing it again tonight we like it so much. This tapenade will be good on so many different things. Definitely a keeper.

  86. Yolanda

    I’m new to your site and this recipe really grabbed my interest. I had bought lamb chops from my farmer’s market on a whim, but hadn’t been brave enough to try anything. I made them on the weekend with a lovely risotto and fresh asparagus – it was delicious! I felt like a superstar in the kitchen!

    Thank you for the recipe and the inspiration! I’ll be looking forward to other recipes.

    And I LOVE the photography!

  87. I am new to the Anne Burrell fan club, and this recipe sounded too intriguing to pass up! I couldn’t find a lamb chop I liked at the market, so I used pork chops. They. were. fabulous!!!!!! My husband is neither an olive nor a pistachio person, and said several times how much he liked the “paste” on top. ;) I can’t wait to make them again for a dinner party and impress the heck out of my guests!

  88. Colleen

    That is interesting about the missing black pepper ingredient in every recipe. I have heard people who are prone to kidney stones are prescribed to go on a low oxalate diets. Black pepper is a condiment that contains high amounts of oxalate, so a lot of people cut it out of their diet. That’s my theory. Either that or she just does not like black pepper.
    Love the blog! Look forward to your posts every week!

  89. Erin

    I made this last night with your warm mushroom salad with hazelnuts on the side and it was SO GOOD! Seriously one of the best things I have had in a while!

  90. Sonali

    My co-workers made this for lunch today and it was perfect! It turned out really good. Wonder how it would change things if we added half a green chilli to the tapenade? Great dish!

  91. CJ

    I love this site and the photos are the best!

    I was craving tapenade but didn’t have the exact ingredients listed here. So this is what I used: cashews and herb salad…basically the same, I had a jar of regular olives and used two cloves of garlic, forgot the lemon zest and had no capers, but boy was this delicious. Oh yeah, I did have lamb chops. You rock, hug that beautiful baby every chance you get.

  92. Roger

    I have had this once and found it delicious, but in my present location I am unable to use a food processor. Is there any way to make the tapenade with out one?

  93. It is truly a great and useful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  94. Katie

    We just had a smitten kitchen night at our house! These lamb chops for dinner, with your eggplant salad toasts as a side and the sugar plum crepes for dessert! everything was fantastic, thank you!! the tapenade especially was amazing, and i don’t even usually like olives! we can’t wait to make this again.

  95. matt

    I made the tapinade as per the ingerdients and it was so incredibly salty thai I threw it out. I did not add any salt or capers for that matter. Maybe the olives and the salted pistacios???

  96. Sandy

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I’ve made this twice for company, and it was a huge hit both times. Today I had a sudden craving for the tapenade, but I didn’t have any pistachios, so I made it with pumpkin seeds instead. It came out really good. I’m now making little soft pretzel buns to eat it with. This is what happens when it snows in October (!) and I don’t want to go outside to buy groceries but have a bunch of random ingredients at home.

  97. Montse (Barcelona)

    I also prepared this recipe yesterday for lunch. It was a success!!! I’m not a lamb meat fan but I have to confess that I enjoyed the meal, the tapenade gave the chops a fantastic taste. Thanx!!

  98. Jane

    I just tried this recipe last night as an early Valentine’s Day dinner for my husband. Wow – it was outstanding and couldn’t have been easier to prepare! Thanks for the recipe!

  99. Michelle

    I recently made your Carnitas using a boned shoulder of lamb…gawwwd it was good!! According to the Australian Meat and Livestock Association, the average Australian ate 9.1 kilograms (about 20 pounds) of lamb per year in 2010 ….and I think I might just have robbed three or four average Australians of their fair share. I ADORE lamb .. any sort, cooked any way but mostly tender little frenched lamb chops marinated in lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and olive oil and charred on the bbq to crisp up the fat but still leaving them rare in the middle. I’m drooling.

  100. Sofia

    I made this this weekend, it was AWESOME and soooooooooo easy.
    The pistacchio tapenade is tops. I made it for our Lulu night with my friends (once a week female gathering) and it was a huge success. With what was left (and I was very generous with the tapenade on the chops) I made the most delicious couscous ever. Thank you, thank you.

  101. Carla

    I absolutely love this tapenade and we use it on grilled lamb whenever possible. I spun it a bit this weekend and used it to stuff into a leg of lamb that I then slow cooked at 250 F for about 7 hours. Only difference in the ingredients was that I added a lot more parsley. Success!

  102. Toni

    Can’t believe I haven’t seen this before! These are amazing.
    On one of Anne’s episodes, she actually stated, as she was salting some cut of meat, “I don’t use black pepper because I don’t roll that way.” No explanation, just does not use black pepper.

  103. Dimitra

    This was delicious! I’d never cooked lamb chops before and they turned out juicy and tasty but truly, it’s the tapenade that’s the real star. I doubled the amount I made so it found its way into our pizza that we made the following day and it’s been my gourmet breakfast all week: one olive oil rusk, topped with a bit of hard yellow cheese from Crete smeared with the tapenade, absolutely delish! I am thinking of serving this as canape or entree in dinner parties in the future (was also tasty, though less spectacular, with cream cheese).

  104. Swati

    Hi Deb — I was wondering what you might serve this with. I’m making this for a birthday dinner tomorrow and worried that most of my go-to sides might not go well with the tapenade, or might overpower the lamb. Right now I’m leaning towards making a sweet potato hash (derived from your spring pancetta hash, but maybe minus pancetta since this is already so meaty), a cumin-corn side, or a a really simple asparagus/mushroom mix.

    Thoughts? I’d love your input!

  105. Christine

    Delicious Recipe. Just served this for a dinner of 4 and it was a hit. Everyone at the table asked me to write down the recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  106. Sarah

    Made this last night with your smoky eggplant dip, as suggested. The tapenade is fantastic, and there was about a 1/4 cup leftover after spreading on 6 chops. Weirdly, the tapenade itself reminds me of Froot Loops (it’s the lemon zest that does it… not saying that’s a bad thing though), but with its creamy consistency thanks to the pistachios, the spread is delicious on “Food Should Taste Good” brand Falafel chips, pita/sangak, naan, etc. if it is thinned just a little more. I can easily see adding yogurt and mint, maybe and making it a real dip?

  107. Courtney

    Any suggestions for a different cut of lamb that is on the less expensive side? Or if not lamb, a different cut of meat that would mesh with the pistachio well? Lamb chops are preeettty pricey for those of us on a budget…


  108. kathleen

    Pepper will make one sneeze only if you buy the ground stuff and pour it into a shaker. Can’t imagine Anne (or anyone else) doing this, so the problem may be the appearance of the dark flecks. This bothers some concerned with “curb appeal.”

    Your recipe serves ?? Three, maybe?

  109. deb

    Courtney — I agree, they’re so expensive. (Made this again last night and ouch.) Here’s a guide that suggests alternatives; hope that helps.

    kathleen — I’d say it serves 3, yes. Pepper does make me sneeze, even freshly ground, if I use a lot of it. And always when refilling the peppercorns. And cayenne… forget it. Even being near an open jar makes me sneeze.

  110. Rose

    Served this to my husband who hates olives and capers…and he loved it. Mwahh ha ha ha! Also made this with your Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Tahini. Really good combination.

  111. Amy

    This would work on steak, right? Adjusting for the cooking time, obviously. Would the recipe make enough to cover three ~8 oz. steaks?

  112. Tatiana

    Just made this yesterday for an Easter dinner for the family. Had a hard time keeping the husband from eating all the green olives before I had a chance to measure them out. This dish was a hit. Since I hate washing more pots and pans than necessary I browned the chops in two batches, wiped out most of the fat from the pan, put the chops back in, coated them with the tapenade and stuck that pan in the oven. Saved me from having to wash a sheet pan.
    Dear Husband asked me to make sure to save this recipe so I can make it again.

  113. Kayla

    This was delicious!! But I found lost flavor on subsequent reheating. I had some inspiration though- this would be amazing with pasta and lamb meatballs. The tapenad really reminded me of the pistachio pesto I had in Sicily!

  114. Michelle

    I’m sure this has been answered, but I read an interview with Anne Burrell in which she said pepper isn’t a generic seasoning; to her, it has a distinct flavor that doesn’t go with everything, so she doesn’t use it on most dishes.

  115. Debbie

    Looks delicious. Would like to try these with the mini lamb chops for a Greek style dinner party I am planning. How long do you suggest they bake in the oven? Same oven temp?

  116. Andrew K

    I forgot the capers (even though I had them) and put in some sundried tomatoes instead (to use up an old half-jar). It was phenomenal. The pistachio/lamb combo is a home run. The leftover tapenade will go on bread, roasted veggies and spooned into my face. I suggest using a mild green olive so as not to overpower everything else.

  117. swatimca2009

    I have always liked the sirloin chops and I don’t like to grill the lamb chops until they are nicely marinated. It really enhances the taste and also added flavor to the final dish.
    You have explained it nicely and it is really a fantastic dish. Thanks!

  118. Katie

    This is a wonderful recipe! Often I’ll make double of the olive spread, and then use it in salad dressing, as a spread for bread, etc. So much flavor! This recipe made me comfortable buying and cooking lamb chops- impressive enough for a special occasion dinner, but so easy! Thank you Deb.

    1. Katie polfer

      Last night I made this recipe again. I stirred some leftover olive pistachio spread into a bowl of lackluster white bean dip I made earlier. So delicious!

  119. Bonnie Rector

    Could you show some photos of how you took a 8 rib rack and cut it down to 6 even chops? It sounds easy, but when I tried it, I got two chops that were twice as thick as the 5 in the center. I then cut the thick ones in half and now I have 9 thin chops. I am using the vacuum-packed lamb ribs from Costco (Kirkland brand). I live in SC and none of my local supermarkets carry the lamb racks.

  120. Faye

    Made this for Easter Sunday and it was amazing! Even the ones who ‘don’t eat lamb’ were licking the bones! Another great recipe!! Thanks, Deb.

  121. spyglassweb

    I made this for a Valentine’s Day dinner about 5 years ago. It was memorable. I am revisiting it again for a birthday dinner. SOOO good.

  122. Lynn

    Deb have I told you lately how much I love this recipe and how many times I have made it? It is one of my family’s very very favorite dishes. Sometimes I sear the chops on the grill instead of on the stove top, When I do sear it on the stove top, I do so in a cast iron skillet that I then subsequently use to cook the chops in the oven. I prefer this recipe with lamb loin chops (meatier, less fat) but fantastic with either type of chop. Thank you thank you for a recipe that is easy, delicious and so very special.

    1. deb

      You start with toasted. Salted is fine, just don’t add more unless needed. With raw, you’ll want to toast them first for best crunch and flavor.

  123. Janet A

    I made this recipe, or a close variation, with lamb loin chops. I didn’t have the fresh oregano so substituted a pinch or two of dried, and didn’t have green olives so substituted kalamatas. I had a little sundried tomato pesto that needed to go, so I added a couple of teaspoons of that to use it up. Then I slathered the chops in the tapenade, only at that point realizing I was supposed to sear them first. I thought about scraping it off and then said, Nah…So I preheated the oven to 425 and when it got to 250, put the chops in the oven to gently get to 425, and then cooked them the required 5 minutes once the oven got to temperature. I was surprised to see that they weren’t overcooked–perfect medium rare. And no cast iron searing pan to clean up!

  124. Rachel

    Made this for dinner tonight (along with roasted carrots and a watermelon goat cheese arugula salad), and the tapenade is absolutely delicious! Straightforward, easy recipe, and will definitely make this again!

  125. Becky

    I can answer your Anne Burrell pepper question!

    I was fortunate to be in a cooking class with her a few years ago in NYC. She simply does not like pepper. In her Anne Burrell way, she said, “Everything does not need salt AND pepper. There is a specific time and place for pepper, but I haven’t found it yet.”

    These lamb chops are on our menu for Thanksgiving this year :)

  126. Carla

    If I want to sous vide a rack of lamb and then just brown exterior before cutting into chops for serving, would you heat the tapenade slightly before topping chops with a dollop or just serve it room temp on top or as a side condiment?

  127. carla kutsher

    Just made this for dinner last night with a rack of lamb that I cooked sous vide, then browned and cut into chops. As delicious as the perfectly cooked lamb was, I was blown away by the tapenade which we could not stop eating! I imagine it would be great with pork chops or roast as well as salmon or other fish. A real winner!