Fresh herbs are quintessential to Vietnamese cooking. During the summer months, we try to grow basil, mint, perilla (tia to), coriander (rau ram), and our favorite rice paddy herb (ngo om) in our backyard garden. But now in December with the short days and long nights and record low temperatures our herb garden even here in Southern California has sadly wilted away and lies in wait for the spring. We are back to buying supermarket herbs of variable quality and freshness.
But all this changed four weeks ago when got the Aerogarden ULTRA, a dirt-free indoor hydroponics garden. We immediately put it together in minutes without any additional tools and had a variety of basil planted just as quickly. The smart LCD screen on the Aerogarden walked us through the quick start planting process step by step. Since planting day it’s practically maintenance free (it even notifies of you when to feed and water!) and the transformation from seed to full blown thriving basil plant right on our counter top has been simply amazing.
After just four weeks, we have beautiful bunch of basil varieties right on our kitchen counter. We didn’t have to deal with dirt, weeds, bugs, or – heaven forbid – pesticides. To take advantage of this bounty of fresh herbs, we decided to make some lamb chops as the gaminess of the lamb and zesty fresh basil go so well together.
Sous vide cooking isn’t featured on our blog very much, but we actually use it quite frequently. We absolutely love the Anova Sous Vide immersion circulator that retails for about $200. We always have some sort of duck, short rib, steak, or lamb seasoned and vacuum sealed frozen away for quick gourmet meals. Unlike traditional methods of cooking that would require a defrost, you actually cook straight from frozen with sous vide and it only requires only about 30 minutes extra cooking time. Plus, we can’t complain that it results in a perfect cooking temperature every time. A chimchurri is classic Argentinian herb sauce most commonly used with flat leaf parsley. It’s a great way to highlight the aromas of fresh herbs, particularly basil.
Sous vide lamb chops with basil chimichurri
For the lamb chops
2 racks of lamb, Frenched
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 shallot diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1. Set sous vide temperature to 134 degrees F/56 degrees C.
2. Season lamb liberally with salt and pepper. Vacuum seal lamb with crushed garlic and sous vide for 2 hours.
3. Combine all of the ingredients of the basil chimichurri sauce in bowl and mix well. Season to taste and cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend together.
4. After two hours, remove lamb chops from bag and dry well with a paper towel. Sear with torch or scalding hot well oiled pan. Slice between the bones and liberally top with basil chimichurri sauce and enjoy.