Easter is the celebration of spring, and in Italy this means eating eggs and lamb. Even though it is snowing and Easter is colder than Christmas this year and therefore there is no suckling lamb available yet, I am following that tradition by preparing Abbacchio a Scottadito. This is a piatto tipico from Lazio, the region of Rome. Abbacchio means suckling lamb, and although the dish is still called abbacchio it is more usually prepared with regular lamb. The lamb should be as young as you can find; the lamb I used was 4 months old.
The people of Rome have a colorful way of naming their dishes and describing how delicious they are. Scaloppine Saltimbocca refer to veal scaloppine that are so tasty that they “jump into your mouth”, and these lamb chops Scottadito are do delicious that you burn your fingers (scotta = burn, dito = fingers) while eating them.
The name is quite elaborate but the dish is not. It is Italian cooking at its best: good ingredients to which you do as little as possible. In this case lamb chops, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Optional ingredients are rosemary and garlic to marinate the lamb, and a slice of lemon to serve them with. The lamb can be prepared on a piastra (cast iron plate) or, as I did in this case, in a very hot oven. A cast iron plate will probably give slightly better results (better browning while keeping the meat pink inside), but is more messy. Note added 13 July 2013: the griddle does give a better result.
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the lamb chops in an oven proof dish. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat them with a thin layer of oil on all sides. Add some rosemary and/or garlic if you like. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Turn them and return them to the oven.