Though it is a simple dish, lamb chop in cacciatore (hunter)-style is fit for a banquet. The keys are some extra steps in the preparation: removing excess fat to lessen the distinctive aroma and sprinkling sugar before the salt.
“This keeps too much salt from seeping into the meat and causing the umami flavor to flow out with the liquid,” says chef Kuniaki Arima. The white wine may be replaced by sake or “shochu” spirit. If you choose to cook without alcohol, use water and lemon juice. The recipe also applies to pork. “Shuto” (pickled entrails of bonito) may replace anchovy if lamb is used. Serves two.
4 lamb chops
1 small potato
1 clove garlic
1 anchovy fillet
1 bay leaf
60 cc white wine
Bit of soy sauce
Boil potato until skewer enters without resistance. Peel and quarter. Cut garlic in half, crush with flat side of kitchen knife. Chop anchovy. Make cuts on edge of bay leaf with fingers.
Let lamb chop warm to room temperature. Slice off excess fat. If lamb comes in a rack, cut apart between bones. Sprinkle bit of sugar, then salt (both not listed above) on both sides of chop. Lightly dust with flour.
Heat nonstick frying pan on medium heat, place chop standing so fat is cooked first. When fat starts to melt, add garlic.
When fat turns golden, grill both sides of meat turning occasionally. Add potato and cook until golden.
When meat puffs up and is springy when pushed, add anchovy and sautee. Once aroma rises, add bay leaf. Turn down heat and add wine and soy sauce.
When alcohol cooks out, turn up heat, thicken soup while turning the meat at times. When sauce is reduced to half, turn off heat. Serve chop on plate and pour sauce.
Estimated time: 30 minutes (15 minutes to prepare, 15 minutes to finish).
Nutritional information (per serving): kilocalories, 300; sodium content, 1.6 grams; fat content, 16.0 grams