A simple fall dinner
And all of a sudden, it feels like fall. The markets are filled with big, round faced Dahlias, grapes, and the last bits of summer tomatoes. And beans...lots of beans. I love the variety of colors and one my favorites is the wax bean, which is a bit softer on the palate than green beans and less sturdy than the purple beans. I read recently that many varieties of wax beans were introduced through Algeria so had the idea to create a simple fall meal of wax beans and Zaatar lamb chops. Zaatar is a condiment essentially made of thyme, oregano, marjoram, sesame seeds and salt, perhaps with sumac added in. I purchase mine off of Amazon and love that it comes in a big package with no english written on it whatsoever! Zaatar is popular all throughout the middle east and northern Africa. It is thought to minimize harmful parasites in the body and keep the mind alert.
The wax bean recipe is based on a recipe from Domenica Marchetti but is very forgiving and takes additions and substitutions well. For example, in the summer I like to add little cherry tomatoes, if you prefer you can replace shallots with some grated garlic, and you can definitely omit the olives if you prefer.
Serves 2 - 4
Roasted Wax Beans with Feta and Herbs
1 lb of trimmed wax beans (if you like, you can add green as well)
2 T everyday olive oil
2 T best quality olive oil
Juice of half a lemon (you can add more to taste)
2 T minced shallots
2 T minced herbs (I quite like a mix of basil and thyme but oregano or mint is also nice)
handful of crumbled feta cheese
2 - 4 T chopped olives
Toss beans with everyday olive oil and a pinch of salt on 425 for about 10 minutes, stirring around once at the 5 minute mark.
Meanwhile, mix best quality olive oil, lemon, shallots and herbs and add a pinch of salt and a bit of white or black pepper. Adjust seasonings as necessary.
Remove beans from oven and move to serving bowl. Toss with dressing and top with olives and feta.
Zaatar Lamb Chops
Depending on how hungry folks are, plan on 2 - 4 chops per person. Coat with Zaatar and add a sprinkle of salt. Heat 1 T. olive oil in a cast iron skillet over MH (or heat grill to MH) and add chops without crowding (do in more than one batch if necessary). Cook chops 2 - 3 mins per side, depending on thickness to Medium Rare. Let rest on a plate for 5 minutes before serving.