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It's not Easter without lamb; Michelin starred chef Bryan Webb's monthly column on seasonal foods Make 12 or so small incisions about 5cm.

EASTER Sunday wouldn't be complete without roast new season lamb, as traditional as Christmas turkey to me. The past weekend at my restaurant at Tyddyn Lan, Corwen, lamb has been on my menu in many guises. I prepared saddles with parsley and pine nut stuffing for a wedding, a plate with breaded breast, a mini shepherd's pie and roasted rack for a gourmet evening.

There was a simple roast shoulder flavoured with anchovy, garlic and rosemary at Sunday lunch and a navarin on Saturday. I even have a confit of shoulder in the fridge for later this week. That's without mentioning sweetbreads, liver and kidneys, fantastic in spring lamb.

I'm not saying this just because I'm Welsh, but Welsh Lamb is by far the best in the world. I'm not sure why, but I suppose it comes down to the mountains, sweet grass, rain and good breeding. Buy your lamb from a good local butcher, who should hang it for about 10 days before cutting it into joints. This helps the flavour and tenderness of the meat.

The down side is that good lamb is very expensive so you need to use it with a thrifty mind. Cheapest cuts are breast and neck, then shoulder, leg, saddle and best end. The best end is the cut of seven or eight lamb cutlets; roasted pink with a herb crust, it's not a cheap dish - each cutlet works out at pounds 2.50 each just now. It's the best end that in my opinion gives the only true lamb chops. A double chop cut through the centre bone is a Barnsley chop. It annoys me to see lots of different joints all cut into so called chops. The only exception is cutting steaks out of the leg, wonderful char-grilled on a barbecue.

If you buy a whole leg of lamb ask your butcher to remove the rump which will make a good roast for two and takes only 10 minutes to cook, served with a shallot puree. Take the shank off and keep it to make a kleftico. You'll still be left with enough meat to serve six to seven people.

Make 12 or so small incisions about 5cm deep on the fleshly side of the joint. Insert a piece of sliced garlic, half an anchovy fillet and a rosemary sprig in each incision pushing them in with your a finger. Then with about 75g of butter mix any leftover garlic, rosemary and anchovies into the butter, smear over the meat, grind black pepper over and roast to your liking.

In shops now are peas and broad beans from Italy which are lovely with spring lamb: if you're lucky enough to find small baby artichokes you can put together a Vignole, an Italian dish found in restaurants in Rome. It's great as a starter or to accompany your lamb.

And if you haven't had enough chocolate after your Easter eggs try my light chocolate cheesecake as pudding. I've been making the recipe for nearly 30 years and it always pleases. It makes enough for eight. Have a wonderful Easter.

Roast saddle of local lamb, parsley and pine nut stuffing This recipe is taken from an idea by Australian chef Stephanie Alexander.

ingredients? 1 saddle of lamb, bone removed, but left whole, salt and pepper, 2 bunches flat parsley, 6 grated cloves garlic, 250ml double cream,120g fresh white breadcrumbs, 50g pine nuts method? Blanch parsley for two mins in a pan of boiling water, then plunge into a bowl of iced water. Drain well, squeeze dry in a clean tea towel.

. ? Toast pine nuts until light gold.

. ? Bring cream to boil, add garlic with blanched parsley. Boil, taking care it doesn't catch on pan bottom.

. ? When mixture starts to thicken, add pine nuts. Take off heat, stir in bread crumbs a little at a time as you may not need them all, stir well, let cool. The stuffing is best made the day before.

. ? Trim fat away from saddle flank, trim the two fillets, season meat with salt and pepper. ? Place the stuffing down centre, lay the two fillets on top and roll together, tie tightly with string and leave until you are ready.

. ? Preheat oven to 220C, roast saddle for 25 mins for pink and 10 more mins for well done, leave to rest for about 20 mins. Remove string and cut into fairly thick slices. Serve with seasonal vegetables, gratin Dauphinois and a light lamb jus.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Article Type:Column
Date:Apr 3, 2012
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