Whether you cultivate an herb garden, grow a few in pots, or simply find them irresistible at your market or farm stand, the thought of cooking with fresh herbs is, frankly, irresistible! Our Italian friends can take credit for caprese, that great summer salad of tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil, but I’ve found the Irish are also fond of using a wide range of herbs in recipes, including these two lovely dishes: lamb cutlets with herb dressing, and grilled tomatoes with buttermilk-herb dressing. Keep these on-hand for your summer go-to recipes. You’ll find them and others like it in my newest cookbook "Favorite Flavors of Ireland." To order a signed copy, visit www.irishcook.com

Lamb Cutlets with Fresh Herb Dressing

Serves 4

Luscious with lamb, this dressing is also perfect for drizzling over boiled new potatoes.

For the dressing:

     2 tablespoons olive oil
     2 to 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped
     1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
     1 tablespoon fresh oregano
     1 garlic clove, minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

For the lamb:

     12 lamb cutlets or loin lamb chops
     1 tablespoon olive oil
     Juice and zest of 1 lemon
     Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
     Boiled potatoes for serving (optional)

1. Make dressing. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Prepare lamb. Place cutlets or chops in a shallow dish. Whisk together oil, lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper. Drizzle mixture over lamb and marinate at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once.

3. Light a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill. Grill lamb for 3 minutes on each side (for rare), and up to 8 minutes for well done. To serve, arrange cutlets and boiled potatoes (if using) on a plate and drizzle with dressing. (Photo: Bhofack2 | Dreamstime.com)

Grilled Tomatoes with Buttermilk-Herb Dressing

Makes about 1 cup

I like to serve these tomatoes and dressing with a juicy rib-eye or other grilled steak. If you like a baked (jacket) potato with yours, the dressing is a great substitute for sour cream and chives!

For the dressing

     2 tablespoons buttermilk
     1/2 cup sour cream or mayonnaise
     1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
     1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
     1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
     Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
     1 tablespoon each chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, dill, or chives

For the tomatoes:

     4 large tomatoes, cut in half horizontally
     Olive oil for brushing
     Baked potatoes for serving (optional)

1. Make dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Let stand for 20 to 25 minutes, or make 1 day ahead, cover and refrigerate.

2. To make tomatoes. Brush the cut side of tomatoes with olive oil and grill, cut-side down, for 3 to 5 minutes. To serve, top each tomato and potato (if using) with a spoonful of dressing. Pass additional dressing.

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Tags: Chefs, Cooking, Cuisine, Recipes

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