After butternut squash dip heaped onto strips of toasted pitta, the main course. It was griddled lamb chops with a fennel and lentil salad, but that was a bit lengthy as a post title, so I’m going to focus instead on the dressing I used. It’s a good one, honestly. And maybe I’m being presumptuous, but I assume if you’re reading a food blog you can grill a lamb chop and make a salad. I forgot to mention in my last post that we also had an aperitif, a little creation of my own inspiration, which we christened the Royale Noir. It’s cava with a generous splash of homemade blackberry vodka at the bottom. It’s probably a bit more potent than is advisable, particularly if you want to do any cooking afterwards.

So, luckily, this is a simple thing to prepare. Halved lemons are griddled on a hot pan until the edges start to char and the resulting juice is squeezed into your dressing; it’s a bit stickier and darker and consequently gives a richer flavour than plain old lemon juice. I have an old issue of the now defunct Waitrose Food Illustrated to thank for this idea, which they say is also good with griddled chicken, fish and halloumi. It makes sense, if you’ve got your griddle pan out, to put something else on it. I’ve got a second-hand Le Creuset thing that weighs as much as a small human and I certainly don’t want the effort of lifting it out of the cupboard to go to waste.

Caramelised lemon dressing

Serves 4ish

2 lemons, halved
5tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 garlic clove, crushed
1  tsp honey

Heat your griddle pan until very hot. Brush the cut side of the lemon halves with a little of the olive oil and sear for a few minutes, until they have caramelised golden patches. Leave until they’re cool enough to handle, then squeeze the juice into a cup. Whisk in the remaining olive oil, garlic and honey and season. Voila, doable even while tipsy! You can then drizzle a little of the dressing over whatever it is you’re griddling – I put half of it over the lamb chops as they cooked and the other half on the salad.