Crab Aioli Appetizer, Lamb Loin Chop Entrée
I wanted to cook some lamb loin chops tonight, and had some crab left over from the other day, so decided to do a crab dip appetizer for the lamb.
Oddly, there was no stove used in this meal. The lamb was marinated and done on the grill, and the crab was already cooked.
Being a Floridian, I've tried a few fish and crab dip recipes, and the cream cheese ones are pretty good, but I've also tried a few mayonnaise-based dips that are excellent. That led me to play around with fish and crab dips over the last couple years, and my final experimental favorite is just a simple aioli with fish or crab meat added at the end.
Garlic, mustard, and egg yolk as the base, with kosher salt and a bit of Old Bay for spice, all tossed into a small food processor
Some people dribble olive oil in by hand, but my processor won't work without all the safety interlocks, and really, that's why they put the little holes in the lid in the first place. I don't whip cream with a whisk unless my mixer is broken, and I don't mind using the little oil holes, as long as my emulsion doesn't break.
The aioli will come out to a basic mayo-like consistency when enough oil is added. I just keep it slow, and keep pulsing. When it looks good, I add the crabmeat
Just a couple more quick pulses to incorporate and break up the meat a bit. Too much pulsing, and it's crab puree, which is not as good as getting those big chunks of meat. Really, I should have had two or three times the crab meat, but it was leftovers, and hey, the tradeoff is having more aioli on my cracker? Not a negative. Sprinkle with Old Bay at the end.
Lamb. It's kinda gamey, a little juicy, very meaty. I never understood those who would take such a wonderful specimen of flavor and wrestle down the natural taste of lamb with overpowering spices like mint or rosemary. My favorite way to eat lamb loin chops is a simple marinade, tossed on the grill, then plated as-is. Even for a culinary francophile like me, no sauce is necessary, the lamb itself does just fine.
Marinade. Dijon, minced garlic, onion powder, kosher salt, ground pepper, olive oil
A little hot sauce for zing
Beer for its graininess, and I think the carbonation helps the marinade penetrate
Usually, I'd throw in the juice of a lemon for some acid, but I was out of lemons. I could have used some wine vinegar but...I forgot (oops). No huge deal, it was good. Marinade for at least a couple hours, but overnight wouldn't hurt.
Grill on high with the lid closed to get some sear on one side, then flip and turn the heat down to get some doneness in the center. I like my lamb medium to medium-rare, Christey prefers hers one to two steps more done. Either way, it's just honest meat with nothing to cover up the natural taste.