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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to Dinner: Recipe chops time for lamb dish

Thursday, August 24, 2000

Tested by Nancy Anderson

Marguerite Hannon of Fox Chapel likes to take lengthy, prep-intensive recipes and turn them into Countdown to Dinner winners.

She did it with her Quick Crab Bisque, which came from an old edition of "The Joy of Cooking," and she's done it again with today's Parmesan Crusted Lamb Chops.

"This entree is based on a Marcella Hazan recipe from about 20 years ago, which was considerably more complicated" she said.

There is nothing difficult about this lamb chop treat unless you have fear of frying.

The chops are quick-fried in 1/4-inch of vegetable oil. If the oil is hot enough, the chops won't absorb much of it and the juices will be sealed inside.

Marguerite often breads the chops in the morning and lets them "stand" in the refrigerator until dinner time.

We caught up with the mother of four grown children last week in Washington, D.C., where she and husband Jack were visiting daughter Kerry, a writer working on a book about tax information for women.

"Kerry is my cooking daughter," she said. "We have a great time in the kitchen together." They also like to attend cooking classes, including a week at the Disney Institute in Florida.

The two were planning a small dinner party for the following night and trying to decide on a menu.

"Kerry had just said, 'Why don't we make those Parmesan lamb chops?' when the phone rang," Marguerite said. "And it was you."

Parmesan Crusted Lamb Chops

8 single lamb chops, no more than 1 inch thick
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup bread crumbs, plain or Italian style
Vegetable oil
Freshly ground pepper (a twist for each chop)

Turn both sides of chops in Parmesan and tap to shake off excess. Dip into beaten eggs, then into bread crumbs (we used seasoned), coating both sides.

Heat enough oil to come 1/4-inch up side of a skillet until very hot. Fry chops, arranged loosely in skillet, about 2 to 4 minutes depending on thickness of chops. As soon as they have formed a crust on one side, season with salt and pepper and turn. Cook on other side 2 to 4 minutes or until done to desired pinkness. Serves 4.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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