Step-by-step lamb chops by Richard Hughes
PUBLISHED: 17:00 25 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:48 25 April 2016
Archant Norfolk © 2016
Spring brings delicious seasonal ingredients, so combine the best of Norfolk with a classic Mediterranean dish, says Richard Hughes of The Lavender House in Brundall
WITH EASTER arriving early, everyone seems to have a spring in their step, particularly in the kitchen. We are looking to make wholesale changes to our menus, al fresco eating is on the horizon and lots of cooks’ most favoured ingredients are starting to appear.
They are all coming far earlier than usual. The mild weather over recent times means we have been offered asparagus months ahead of its scheduled appearance, crabs crawl on to menus in the depths of winter and local strawberries are very close to being a year-round fixture. I’m a firm believer that certain foods are best eaten at certain times of the year, and to me lamb is synonymous with March, April and May.
I’ve put together a dish that will evoke memories of jaunts to Italy, Spain and the south of France, but still using local lamb, asparagus and beautiful tomatoes. I’m sure readers of the EDP Norfolk magazine won’t need reminding, but all of these really are the finest ingredients from Norfolk’s culinary store cupboard . . .
Panzanella is a classic salad that shows the frugality and invention of Tuscan food. It’s basically a stale bread salad, though panzanella sound much more appealing and appetising!
With Brundall mint making the pesto, this variety of herb is used exclusively the Colmans condiment and so is the most revered mint in the world. This appears to be classic Mediterranean cooking - but it has proper Norfolk roots. w
Lamb chops, panzanella & Ellingham goat cheese
6 local lamb chops, from the chump, loin or best end
50g pine kernels
4 garlic cloves ( I blanch mine in boiling water for 5 minutes)
A good bunch of picked mint leaves
100ml extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt. Milled black pepper 1 sourdough or crusty bread roll ( a couple of days old is better!) 2 ripe tomatoes
50 bread beans
8 asparagus spears
Handful of baby spinach or watercress Fielding Cottage Ellingham Goat Cheese (or a feta style)
01) Make the pesto. Place the garlic and pine nuts into a blender
02) Add the picked mint leaves
03) Add the salt and freshly milled black pepper; blend
04) Add the olive oil. Blend, scrape down the processor and blend again
05) Place the pesto into a bowl
06) Begin the panzanella salad by toasting the torn bread
07) Bring a pan of water to the boil, plunge in the peas, broad beans and the asparagus spears. Cook for two minutes. Refresh under cold water immediately
08) Roughly chop the peeled cucumber and the ripe tomatoes. Place in a bowl
09) Add the baby spinach leaves
10) Add the peas, beans and asparagus
11) Roughly break up the goat’s cheese
12) Add the toasted bread
13) Add a couple of spoonfuls of the pesto dressing. Gently mix together
14) Fry the lamb chops in a hot pan, ensuring the fat is crispy. I like to leave mine nice and pink, but cook to your taste. Place the lamb on to the salad. Dress with more pesto
Richard Hughes is chef proprietor of The Lavender House at Brundall and the Richard Hughes Cookery School. He is also director of The Assembly House in Norwich; www.lavenderhouse.co.uk; www.richardhughescookeryschool.co.uk
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