There is, for me, a kind of nursery food moment when I bite into a tonkatsu (or "pork cutlet"). Comforting though it is, I wanted to scale it up for date night, for the adult me. Lamb chops are so tender-succulent and hold up well to a flash-fry; plus, the little crispy panko bits along the edge of the bone are wonderful to nibble off. Paired with bitter greens like arugula, this version of Japanese-borrowed comfort is British in taste: fragrant lamb instead of the usual lean pork, a three-ingredient Worcestershire-based sauce to go with, and a scant teaspoon of dried mint in the breading to echo the classic pairings of the hearth.
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
4 lamb chops
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
Vegetable oil, for frying
White rice, for serving
Baby arugula, for serving
For the sauce: Stir together the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and brown sugar in a tiny saucepan and bring to a gentle bubble. Set aside until ready to serve.
For the lamb: Season the chops with salt and pepper. Then, assemble the breading station: the flour in one plate; the egg and water (whisked together) in another; and the panko breadcrumbs and dried mint (mixed together) in a third. Bread the chops in that order; that is, by dredging in the flour, then in the egg wash, and finally in the panko.
In a shallow but wide pan, heat the oil, which should only be about an inch or two high (we're not deep-frying here). When the oil is hot and shimmery, fry the chops about 2–3 minutes per side.^
Plate the chops over a bed of white rice topped with baby arugula. Serve the sauce on the side or over the chops.
^If the oil is too cold, the lamb will be greasy; if the oil is too hot, it'll get dark before it can cook through. Your happy medium is a chop that sizzles audibly when placed into the oil yet stays light golden-brown in those 4–6 minutes of cooking.