Warm lamb salad with a pea, mint & feta cheese dressing
A fabulously summery recipe from the very appealing Great British Farmhouse Cookbook - perfect for this time of year.
Unusually it's sponsored by a company - the enterprising Yeo Valley dairy in Somerset - but you don't find their branding all over the recipes which have been put together by Sarah Mayor, the Cordon-Bleu trained daughter of the company's founders Roger and Mary Mead and a farmer's wife herself.
Sarah writes: "We’re not normally huge fans of frozen veg, but with peas we make an exception. They’re normally frozen within minutes of being picked, so they’re actually far tastier than fresh peas that have been hanging around in the fridge for a while."
1 x 2.5kg leg of lamb, butterflied
2 little gem lettuces, broken into leaves, washed and dried
1/4 cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE MARINADE:
6 tbsp olive oil
the leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
the leaves from 2 large thyme sprigs, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
finely grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon
FOR THE PEA, MINT AND FETA CHEESE DRESSING:
3 small shallots, very thinly sliced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp caster sugar
250g frozen peas
8 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
the leaves from a 20g bunch fresh mint, chopped, plus extra
whole leaves for garnish
200g feta cheese, crumbled
FOR THE GARLIC AND MINT YOGURT:
250g wholemilk natural yogurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
1. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large shallow dish with 1 teaspoon each of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the lamb and turn it over in the mixture a few times until it is well covered. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 4–6 hours, ideally overnight.
2. To make the dressing, put the sliced shallots into a mixing bowl and stir in the vinegar and sugar. Set aside for at least 30 minutes so that the shallots can soften. Cover the peas with warm water and leave them to thaw, then drain well and set to one side. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
3. Pop a ridged cast iron griddle over a high heat until smoking hot, then lower the heat to medium-low. Lift the lamb out of the marinade, shaking off the excess, then place it on the griddle and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side until well coloured*. Transfer to a roasting tin, spoon over any remaining marinade and roast for 20-25 minutes. Transfer the meat to a carving board, cover with foil and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, tear the lettuce leaves into smaller pieces and scatter them over the base of a large serving platter along with the sliced cucumber. Mix the yogurt ingredients together and season to taste.
5. Add the oil to the shallots and swirl together. Stir in the peas and mint and season to taste.
6. Carve the lamb across into thin slices and pop it on top of the lettuce. Spoon over the pea and mint dressing, scatter over the feta and sprinkle with a few more small mint leaves. Eat straight away with the garlic and mint yogurt.
* the recipe doesn't state this but you could cook the lamb on a barbecue if you had a kettle-style barbecue
Suggested wine match: You could go several ways with this - a light red, a crisp white or a strong dry rosé. Red-wise that could be a Saumur Champigny or another Loire Cabernet Franc, a pinot noir or a juicy red like Mencia from the Bierzo region of northern Spain. Because of the yoghurt and spring vegetables a crisp white such as Sauvignon Blanc would work for those who prefer a white or a crisp dry rosé like Bandol from the South of France would also be delicious.
Extracted from Yeo Valley: The Great British Farmhouse Cookbook by Sarah Mayor (Quadrille £20). Photograph: Andrew Montgomery.
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