The word scottadito means “burned fingers” in Italian, an indication of how you’re supposed to eat these seared lamb chops: quickly, and using your hands. Most scottadito recipes call for the lamb to be marinated, then charred over a hot grill. Our version swaps the marinade for a dip in melted lard, which enrobes the lamb chops in a fatty coating as it cools, and primes them for a quick sear in a cast iron skillet.
Recipe: Lamb Scottadito with Salsa Verde
4 ounces lard (preferably fresh leaf lard) or rendered bacon fat
8 lamb rib chops
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 oil-packed anchovy filets
1 tablespoon drained capers
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
¾ cup finely chopped parsley (from about 1 bunch)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
The Field Method for Cast Iron Care
In a No.8 Field Skillet (or larger), warm the lard over low heat until just melted. Turn off the heat and wait a few minutes for the pan to cool.
Meanwhile, place the lamb chops between two sheets of parchment or plastic (or inside a large food-storage bag) and pound with a meat hammer or the bottom of a small saucepan until about ¼-inch thick. Trim off any large chunks of excess fat. Season the lamb generously with salt.
Line a baking sheet or platter with parchment or wax paper. Working with one lamb chop at a time, dredge the meat in the melted lard until well coated. Transfer to the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining lamb. When all of the lamb has been coated in lard, refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
Make the salsa verde: In a mortar or mixing bowl, combine the garlic, anchovy, and a pinch of salt. Using a pestle or wooden spoon, mash into a paste. Add the capers, lemon zest, and red-pepper flakes and mash until well mixed. Add the parsley and lemon juice and stir to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and more lemon juice, if needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 days ahead. Bring the salsa verde to room temperature before using.
When ready to cook the lamb, preheat a No.8 Field Skillet (or larger) over high heat for a few minutes. Working in batches, add the lard-coated chops to the skillet and cook until well-browned on the bottom, 2 minutes, then turn the chops over and cook until browned on the other side, 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining lamb, pouring any excess lard out of the skillet between batches (save the lard for another use).
When all of the lamb has been cooked, spoon some of the salsa verde over and serve. Eating the lamb chops with your hands if strongly encouraged.
Seasoning Rating: Best
Lard is an excellent fat for cast iron cooking, and your pan will get plenty of it when cooking these lamb chops.
Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.
Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.
Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.
OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.