In the 20th century, when a lot of lamb was raised domestically, lamb chops were a staple of the American family dinner table, but now that most lamb is imported from New Zealand and Australia, its expense has turned it into a once in a while treat.

Even though spring lamb butchering has become less common, this is still the season when this rich, succulent meat creeps back into our consciousness and we begin to crave its minerally, intense flavor.

This menu features roasted asparagus along with meaty chops cut from the loin; you could substitute less pricey shoulder chops, but their additional connective tissue makes for messier eating.

The creaminess of scalloped potatoes would be a welcome addition to the plate; good recipes can be found in any standard cookbook, including my “New England Cookbook,” now reissued as “New England Home Cooking.”

Loin Lamb Chops with Rosemary-Anchovy Butter

Loin lamb chops can be cut in varying thicknesses, so if you can get only 1-inch chops, allow 3 per person. The chops are also wonderful grilled, so if your grill is out from under the snow bank, by all means use it.

Serves 4

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 tablespoon anchovy paste or mashed canned anchovies

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 clove garlic, mashed

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Eight (1½- to 2-inch) thick loin lamb chops, about 2 pounds

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil for pan and drizzling

In a small bowl, mash the butter with the anchovy paste, rosemary, garlic and lemon juice until evenly blended. Transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap, roll into a log about 1½ inches in diameter, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Can be made up to several days ahead and refrigerated or frozen.)

Pat lamb dry, season with salt and pepper, and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat broiler to high. Drizzle broiler pan or rimmed baking sheet with oil, place chops on the pan and drizzle chops with oil.

Broil, about 5 inches from the heating element, without turning, until meat is a rich dark brown but still pink within, 6 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of chops and intensity of heat. Remove chops with tongs to a platter or plates. Slice compound butter into medallions and place 1 on each chop, allowing it to melt. Serve.

Roasted Asparagus with Charred Lemons

Almost all vegetables, including asparagus, are delicious when roasted. When paper thin slices of lemon are tossed in with the spears, they soften and caramelize and can be eaten right along with the asparagus, rind and all. There’s no need to peel skinny asparagus, but fatter spears are more tender if you peel the stems with a vegetable peeler.

Serves 4

1½ to 2 pounds asparagus

1 small lemon, halved, sliced very thin, seeds removed

1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Snap off bottoms of asparagus stems; they will usually break more or less where the woody parts end and the tender parts begin. Peel fatter spears with a vegetable peeler, if desired.

Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet along with lemon slices. Drizzle with oil, toss to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast just until the thick part of the spears can be pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Lobster!” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:

facebook.com/brookedojny


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