Martha Washington (1731-1802) - From the Garden to the Table
While George Washington oversaw most aspects of managing Mount Vernon's pleasure gardens & grounds, Martha Washington oversaw the Kitchen Garden (The Lower Garden), allowing her to keep fruits and vegetables on the table year round.
“…impress it on the gardener to have every thing in his garden that will be nece]ssary in the House keeping way — as vegetable is the best part of our living in the country.” – Martha Washington, 1792
Inside the Kitchen at Mount Vernon
Loin of Lamb with Herbs & Vegetables
Joshua Brookes, an English businessman who dined at Mount Vernon is February 1799, noted that mutton chops were among the dishes he was served. Because mutton has a strong flavor, below is a lamb chop recipe by Hannah Glasse that has been adapted by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump for the book Dining with the Washingtons.
3 large egg yolks
6 to 8 lamb chops
Ground black pepper
3 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
2 teaspoons dried winter savory
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fried parsley for garnish (see Note below)
1. Whisk the egg yolks until light and foamy. Lightly season the lamb chops with salt and pepper, and then coat with the yolks. Combine the breadcrumbs with the parsley, thyme, marjoram, winter savory, and lemon zest. Dredge the lamb chops on both sides in the breadcrumbs, pressing them into the chops. Let them sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place the lamb chops in the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and cook on each side for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
3. Arrange the lamb chops on a serving platter, garnish with fried parsley, and serve.
Note: To fry parsley, rinse and thoroughly dry about 4 fresh parsley sprigs. Melt enough lard or vegetable shortening in a frying pan to measure 2 to 3 inches deep and heat until sizzling hot. The fat will appear to shimmer on the surface when it is ready. Carefully place the parsley sprigs in the hot fat (they will spatter a bit as they hit the oil), and fry briefly—not more than 30 seconds. Lift the parsley out of the oil, using tongs or a wire strainer, and drain thoroughly on paper towels. The parsley will be crisp and bright green, an attractive garnish for many meat and fish dishes.
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