The Italians know how to name their foods.
They have a twirled and twisted pasta called strozzapreti, which means "priest strangler." There is a central Italian dish of veal and ham called saltimbocca -- literally, "jumps in the mouth." Puttanesca, the savory tomato and caper sauce found in almost every Italian eatery, means "whorish."
This dish shares in that tradition of charmingly direct nomenclature. Scotta dita means "burnt finger." You can take that to mean what you will. Traditionally, the lamb chops so named because they are grilled and picked up right off the hot coals. I lend it a somewhat macabre interpretation -- the charred rib chops with the protruding bone do sort of look like a horribly burnt finger. But that's just me.
The chops themselves are marinated in mustard and balsamic vinegar and then charred on the grill. They're tangy, savory, and all kinds of good. Pair them with some sauteed fennel and capers, and a stout zinfandel or rioja, and you'll have an excellent winter meal to enjoy with your burned fingers.
Photos and recipe (from the incomparable Union Square Cafe Cookbook) after the jump.
Plated with sauteed fennel
RECIPE (from Danny Meyer and Michael Romano)
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup basil, julienned
12 lamb rib chops, trimmed
Combine the mustard, garlic, vinegar, salt, and pepper with two teaspoons of water in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture is completely emulsified. Stir in the basil, reserving a small portion for garnish.
Transfer the marinade to a large resealable bag and add the lamb chops. Toss to coat evenly and seal the bag, forcing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.
Brush a grill pan with oil and set over medium-high heat. When the grill is very hot, remove the excess marinade from the chops and place on the grill. Cook 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to a plate and garnish with reserved basil. Serve immediately.