Fennel Crusted Lamb with Cherry Salsa

Fennel Crusted Lamb with Cherry Salsa
Yield: 4 Servings
Total Time: 1 Hour


  • 1 Rack of Lamb; cleaned and cut into 6-8 chops
  • 1 Cup Whole Fennel Seeds
  • 1 TBL Whole Cumin Seed
  • 2 TBL Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 3-4 Sprigs of Tarragon
  • 1 tsp Fennel Spice (see below)
  • 1 TBL Honey
  • 1 lb Fresh Cherries (approx. 50 ea)
  • 2 TBL Whole Coriander
  • 1 TBL Whole White Peppercorn
  • 1 TBL Whole Yellow Mustard Seed
  • 2 ea Green Onion
  • ¼ cup Champagne Vinegar
  • 2-3 Sprigs of Oregano
  • ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste


Fennel Spice:

  1. Combine Fennel Seed, Coriander, Cumin, Peppercorn, Salt, & Mustard in a bowl and mix. Toast Spice mixture till browning and fragrant; either in a sauté pan on the stove top, or on a sheet pan in a 425F oven for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Once toasted and fragrant, place spices in a blender or a coffee grinder and grind to desired consistency. Add ground ginger to mixture and incorporate. Set aside for lamb and salsa.

Cherry Salsa:

  1. De-stem and pit the cherries using a pitter. Cut half the cherries in half and leave the other half whole. Lightly dress the whole cherries in a little olive oil. Place on a sheet tray and blister/roast using an oven broiler, typically about 12- 14 minutes depending on the size and ripeness of the cherries and their proximity to the broiler.
  2. Place the cut cherries in a large bowl. Slice green onions as thinly as possible and mince the tarragon and oregano. Combine cut cherries, onions, minced herbs, honey, olive oil, vinegar, 1 tsp Fennel Spice from above in a bowl and mix.
  3. Once whole cherries are roasted, allow them to cool and then add to the bowl including any juices that have accumulated in the pan. Mix salsa thoroughly and season with salt and pepper to taste. Use salsa immediately or store in a refrigerator for later use. Can be made up to a day or so in advance.

Lamb Preparation:

  1. Prepare Lamb chops. Liberally dress lamb chops on both sides with Fennel spice from above. Either grill or pan sear your spiced lamb chops for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Allow them to rest for a minute, then transfer on a oven safe surface to a 425F oven for 8-10 minutes or until desired doneness is achieved. Allow Lamp chops to rest for a few minutes, then plate and liberally dress with cherries and dressing/sauce. Bon Appetit!

Chef Notes:

There is a couple of “must haves” for this recipe. Invest in a cherry pitter! And if you have never pitted cherries before, do a test run on a couple first. You’ll need a bowl or two, and WARNING, it can get messy.

Also, if you don’t have a blender to make the spice mixture use an old coffee grinder or invest in a inexpensive one to have specifically to make you own spice blends! You can purchase a decent one for less than $10.

Feel free to experiment with the fresh herbs in the salsa as well. Mint and fresh basil are other good options.