Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Brush the chops on both sides with oil and season with the pepper and a little salt. Heat a ridged cast-iron griddle or a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat until smoking hot. Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the chops or steaks and cook for 3–4 minutes on each side until golden brown on the outside but still pink and juicy in the middle.
Meanwhile, drop the peas into the pan of boiling salted water, bring them back to the boil and cook for 1 minute or until tender. Drain well, tip into a food processor and add the chopped mint, butter, cream (if using) and some seasoning. Process into a slightly rough-looking purée.
To serve, spoon the pea purée into the centre of 4 warmed plates and rest 2 of the lamb chops on top. Add the pancetta slices to the griddle and cook for 30 seconds on each side, until crisp and golden. Drain briefly on kitchen paper, then pile on top of the chops and serve.
- 8 lamb chops or 4 x 6–8 oz (175–225g) leg of lamb steaks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 x 100-g (4-oz) packet thinly sliced smoked pancetta or thin-cut rindless streaky bacon
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For The Minted Pea Purée
- 1 x 900-g (2-lb) bag frozen peas
- the leaves from 1⁄2 x 20-g (3⁄4-oz) packet mint, chopped
- 50 g (2 oz) butter
- 2 tablespoons double cream (optional)