Lamb: Spring into action
Now the best time of year to eat lamb, spring offers sweet, tender and flavoursome meat in the form of early or spring lamb. With little time to work and graze the land, but enough to reap the benefits of their green pasture, spring lamb is succulent and full of moisture making it perfect for quick cooking methods, and is best eaten pink.
As a very rich, and sometimes fatty meat, lamb works brilliant with fresh flavours that help to cut through the richness. Acidity and fresh herbs bring vibrancy and lightness to dishes, making them perfect additions to any summer dish.
In a change from indulgent and comforting roast lamb common during the winter months, that often look to root vegetables and potatoes for sustenance, during the spring and summer months, I am always in search of light variations that sing more of a summery palate. Grains, pulses and beans are great alternatives to stodgy carbs such a potato – and so pearl barley swiftly becomes an important store cupboard essential during the lighter months.
Drawing on traditional flavour pairings; lamb, mint, fruit and acidity, I have taken inspiration from Levantine cuisine to arrive at this beautifully refreshing, light and flavoursome pearl barley tabbouleh, to be the comforting bed for my Lebanese spiced cutlets. Lamb’s sweetness is pleasantly enhanced by the aromas of the Levant that combines Middle eastern spices of cinnamon, coriander, all spice and nutmeg (amongst many others) to achieve an aromatic spice blend. This offers a delicious contrast to the fruity and acidic tabbouleh that brings freshness, vibrancy and colour with the addition of pomegranate, zesty lemon and fresh mint and parsley.
A match made in heaven, this recipe sure has put a spring in my step!
- 150g pearl barley
- 1 tsp all spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 4 – 6 lamb cutlets, trimmed
- Bunch of parsley
- Bunch of mint
- 50g sundried tomatoes
- 80g pomegranate seeds
- 3 spring onions
- 1 lemon
- Wash the barley thoroughly before cooking to packet instructions. Once cooked, drain and set aside to cool. Whilst the barley is cooking prepare the spice rub for the lamb. Combine the all spice, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, pinch of salt and pepper and 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil. Place the cutlets in a dish and spoon over and rub in the spice mixture – cover and set aside to marinade.
- Once the barley has cooled, add roughly chopped parsley, mint and sundried tomatoes, pomegranate seeds and sliced spring onions. Zest the lemon and squeeze the juice into the bowl along with the remain rapeseed oil. Combine all the ingredients well using a spoon.
- Heat a griddle pan on high-heat. Uncover the cutlets and place in the hot pan, firstly on their side for a minute or two to render down any excess fat. Once browned on the side, lay the cutlets flat on the griddle and cook for approximately 2 minutes each side (this will depend on how thick your cutlets are).
- Once cooked, remove the lamb and place on a plate to rest for 5 minutes. Spoon the barley tabbouleh into a large bowl before stacking on the cutlets. Serve with mint mayonnaise as well as any extra pomegranate, spring onions and mint