For the salsa de pasitas rojas
1 cup (about 24) garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup raisins
¼ cup imported black olives, pitted
2 pasilla or ancho chilies, seeded
¼ cup lemon zest
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 white anchovies
2/3 cup chicken broth
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
for the fennel salad and lamb chops
4 large fennel bulbs, green tops removed
½ cup black olives, pitted and slivered
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
Sixteen 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick lamb loin chops (about 7 pounds 10 ounces or 3.5 kg)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
1. Make the salsa. Combine the garlic cloves, almonds, raisins, olives, chilies, lemon zest and oil in a large sauté pan. Heat over medium heat until the ingredients begin to fry lightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Cook until the garlic cloves are lightly browned and have softened and the raisins begin to puff, about 10 minutes. Add the white anchovies. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
2. Transfer the cooked mixture with the oil to a food processor. Process until nearly smooth, about 1 minute. With the food processor running, pour the chicken broth, vinegar, and salt into the ground mixture and process until nearly smooth, about 1 minutes. Adjust seasoning and refrigerate. This should make 2 cups.
3. Preheat a charcoal grill to medium-high heat, or build a fire with coals and let it burn down until the coals are glowing red with a thin coating of white ash. Spread the coals out in a single layer.
4. Make the fennel salad while you wait for the grill or coals to heat up. Cut the fennel bulbs in quarters lengthwise. Slice the thick core off of each bulb. Remove any tough outer leaves. Slice the bulbs vertically into ¼-inch (5 mm) shards. In a medium bowl, mix the black olives, ¼ cup of the oil, and the lemon juice. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the fennel shards and toss to coat lightly.
5. Cook the lamb chops. Rub them with the remaining oil and season with the salt and pepper. Grill until medium rare, about 5 minutes per side. Arrange two grilled lamb chops on each dinner plate. Add ½ to 2/3 cup of fennel salad. Spoon 2 rounded teaspoons of salsa over each lamb chop, then drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil over each plate. Serve extra salsa in a bowl and place on the table for people to help themselves.
Recipe adapted from one by Robert Del Grande, courtesy "Spain and the World Table," by Martha Rose Shulman and the Culinary Institute of America, DK Publishing, 2008