You couldn't ask for a better partner for lamb's mildly earthy flavor than nectarines, used here in a quick jam and sizzled on the grill. Choose fruit with red-tinged flesh for an especially pretty presentation.
3 soft-ripe yellow nectarines (1 1/2 lbs. total), preferably with very red skin
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 firm-ripe yellow nectarines (1 lb. total)
How to Make It
Whisk together 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 3 tbsp. oil, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, the garlic, rosemary, and chopped thyme in a shallow dish. Add lamb and turn to coat. Chill, covered, 1 to 2 hours. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before grilling.
Meanwhile, make jam: Put a small plate in freezer. Coarsely chop soft-ripe nectarines and put in a medium saucepan with 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp. water, the sugar, and lemon zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring and crushing with back of spoon, until fruit softens, 10 to 15 minutes. Boil gently, stirring, until a spoonful of jam put on the cold plate holds a soft shape, 10 minutes more. Stir in whole thyme leaves and more lemon juice to taste. Let cool.
Heat a grill to medium-high (450° to 500°). Cut firm-ripe nectarines in half and pit; brush with 1 tbsp. oil and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper to taste.
Grill chops (reserve marinade), turning once and basting with marinade, 8 to 10 minutes total for medium-rare. During last few minutes, grill nectarines, cut side down, until grill marks appear, 2 minutes. Cut fruit into wedges. Arrange meat and fruit on a platter and garnish with thyme sprigs. Serve with jam.
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Both the marinated grilled lamb and the nectarine jam were individually very good. But the jam was overpowering in its sweetness and flavor to the milder, more earthy, herbal and subtle lamb. The two together were not a good pairing.
Wow! I wish I could give this recipe more stars. There was only one change I had to make. That was shoulder lamb steaks are never available in my area so had to do lamb chops. (The look like mini t-bone steaks) Other than that it was done exactly as listed and this recipe will be repeated for years to come.
The flavor is so well balanced. And the nectarine jam makes more than enough so we were able to enjoy the jam on toast and bagels.
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