Growing anticipation

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1/3 cup olive oil (plus a little)
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
8 single-cut lamb rib chops, about 1 pound

Toast:
Scatter almonds in a small heavy skillet. Slide into a 350-degree oven and toast golden brown, about 8 minutes.

Swirl:
Split garlic the long way and pull out any green sprout (the "germ"). Measure salt and pepper into the food processor. With machine running, drop in garlic, buzzing to bits. Add mint, lemon juice and lemon zest. Pulse a few times. With machine running, drizzle in 1/3 cup olive oil, making a thick pesto. Add feta and toasted almonds. Pulse a few times.

Season:
Scoop out half the pesto; cover and chill. Smooth remaining pesto onto the chops, covering both sides.

Sizzle:
Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, add chops and cook until crisp outside and just done inside, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with chilled pesto.

Leah Eskin is a Tribune Newspapers special contributor. Email her at leahreskin@aol.com.
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