I am a huge fan of goat cheese. In my twenties, I had the opportunity to live in the south of France in a prime goat cheese production region and that first taste of fromage de chèvre I was hooked forever. In the naïveté of my youth I thought that I didn’t really like cheese due to my limited experience with bright orange coloured varieties that usually came out of a jar or a flimsy square of plastic. Thankfully, I had nine months in which to sample hundreds of cheeses, many purchased from markets staffed by local cheese farmers.
In Toronto, where there are many great cheese shops, I can get my favourite cheeses wrapped in paper and reminisce about my days in Manosque. Or I go to my local grocery store and pick up a log of goat cheese encased in a plastic tube and a package of vacuum-sealed lamb chops – which is what I did for the Lamb chops with chèvre crust recipe.
The preparation time for this dish is only 5 minutes followed by 12 minutes of broiling. If you’re doing your own roasted red pepper (and I recommend that you do) then make sure you do so ahead of time so that the peppers have time to cool. They should be coated lightly with vegetable oil and roasted for about 20 minutes, when the skin begins to char. Remove the peppers and tightly cover them with another piece of foil. When they are cool enough to handle you can peel off the skins, remove the seeds and slice the peppers as you like. I was getting impatient for the peppers to cool (and to start broiling the lamb) so the peels would have been easier to remove had a waited a few more minutes. I’m not the best at waiting.
I broiled the lamb for 4 minutes, turned them and broiled for 4 more minutes. Making the crust was simple: mash the cheese in a bowl them stir in the roasted red pepper and chives. I spread the cheese mixture over each chop, then sprinkled the breadcrumbs on them. I must admit, I resorted to using plain old breadcrumbs, as I could not find Italian-style breadcrumbs with pecorino cheese at my closest grocery store. Actually, to tell you the truth, I couldn’t find it because I didn’t look for it – I forgot to add the item to my grocery list. Well, I’ve definitely forgotten to write down items on my shopping list before and it will probably won’t be the last time either.
When I returned the chops to the oven to broil for 4 to 6 minutes, I was soon met with the ‘Hello, neighbours, Mel is cooking’ alarm. Yes, the smoke detector went off. I am so glad I live in a house with such a high-functioning safety device. No need to do regular checks to see if it is working, all I need to do is try to broil some meat at least once a month. There was no fire so I left the lamb to broil while I opened the kitchen window and then the back door. As I fanned the kitchen of smoke, I waited to see what would happen first: the silencing of the smoke detector or the bleeping of my oven timer. The detector was silenced just before my timer went off. A great way to announce to my family that dinner was ready!
We loved the chèvre crust on the lamb chops. And, luckily, we had some cheese mixture left over that we slathered onto sliced baguette. Yummy!