Ezme is a staple of Turkish cuisine, and it has everything you’d want from a condiment for grilled meat. This version is inspired by Esra Muslu, who used to head up one of the Ottolenghi delis. If you don’t have a griddle pan, cook the lamb chops under a grill turned up to its highest setting.
For the lamb
2 tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 lemons, 1 juiced, to get 1½ tbsp, the other cut into quarters
1kg lamb chops
For the cumin salt
1½ tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
½ tsp flaked sea salt
1 tsp sumac
For the ezme
2 banana shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthways (100g net)
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
5 red chillies (110g)
6 plum tomatoes (600g)
60ml olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
2½ tbsp pomegranate molasses
20g walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
25g mint leaves, finely chopped
20g parsley leaves, finely chopped
200g Greek-style yoghurt
1. First, marinate the lamb. In a large bowl, mix the oil, garlic, a tablespoon and a half of lemon juice and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt. Add the lamb, toss to coat, then cover, refrigerate and leave to marinate for at least three hours.
2. For the cumin salt, roughly crush the cumin in a mortar, then stir in the flaked salt and sumac. Very lightly crush the mix again, then transfer to a small bowl.
3. Place a griddle pan on a high heat. While it’s warming up, prepare the vegetables for the ezme. In a large bowl, mix the shallots, garlic, chilli, tomatoes and a tablespoon of the oil. Once the griddle is hot, grill the vegetables in two or more batches, using tongs to turn them as necessary: give the shallots about two minutes on each side, until softened and charred; grill the chilli and garlic for about five minutes, turning often, until the skins are blistered and blackened all over; and grill the tomatoes for about 10 minutes, until softened and blistered. Once cooked, lift the vegetables on to a board and leave to cool.
4. Once the grilled vegetables are cool, peel off and discard the chilli, garlic and tomato skins, then finely chop all the vegetables and put in a medium bowl. Stir in a half-teaspoon of salt and all the remaining ingredients for the ezme bar the yoghurt, then set aside.
5. Return the griddle pan to a high heat and, once hot, grill the lamb chops for three or four minutes on each side, until they’re cooked through and have nice char marks on both sides (this will cook the chops to medium, so give them more or less time on the griddle, depending on how you like your lamb).
6. To serve, spoon half the yoghurt over a large platter, spread it out evenly with the back of the spoon, then make a well in the centre. Spoon half the ezme into the well, arrange the chops neatly on top, then sprinkle over half the cumin salt. Serve hot with the remaining yoghurt, ezme and cumin salt in separate bowls alongside.