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Lamb Chop Salad for the Win

August 7, 2014

Balsamic Lamb Chops with Stone Fruit and Arugula

Conventional wisdom might have us believe that salad is a side. But with flavor and visual impact like this, relegating it to anything but the main event would be silly. Don’t be silly. Make this delicious lamb chop and stone fruit salad your new favorite summer meal.

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Lamb and dried fruit are a classic pairing in Moroccan tagines and other winter stews; here’s a fresh spin for summer. A mix of aged balsamic vinegar and olive oil does double duty as a marinade for the “lollipop” chops (just pick them up to eat them!) and a dressing for the arugula and mint leaves. Slices of ripe, juicy plum and nectarine tease out the sweetness of the vinegar.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, preferably aged
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of sugar
8 bone-in rib lamb chops, frenched (about 2 pounds total, each about 1 inch thick)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bunch arugula (about 8 ounces), trimmed
2 plums or nectarines, or a combination, pitted and sliced into wedges
3 tablespoons pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), toasted
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves

1. Whisk together vinegar, oil, and sugar in a bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup mixture; transfer remaining marinade to a resealable plastic bag. Season lamb with salt and pepper and add to bag, turning to coat. Let marinate in refrigerator, turning occasionally, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

2. Let chops stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, remove lamb from marinade and add to pan. Cook, flipping once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part (avoiding bone) registers 125 degrees, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let stand 10 minutes.

3. Whisk reserved marinade to combine. Divide arugula, fruit, pepitas, and mint among plates. Season with salt and pepper; drizzle with reserved marinade. Top with lamb; serve immediately.

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