The flavors of the herbs and hazelnuts roasted along with the lamb cutlets are utter heaven here, but you could use almonds or pine nuts instead if you prefer. The last time I made this dish was at my good friend and London theater queen Sally Greene’s house. Since it was a large supper gathering, I prepared the pea and wild garlic purée ahead in the morning, along with the lamb cutlets right up to the stage of putting them in the oven, so it was very easy to serve.
[Ed. Note: this recipe is one of three from A Springtime Menu by Clodagh McKenna.]
3 French-trimmed racks of lamb (about 6 cutlets per rack)
2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed rosemary, thyme, and flat-leaf parsley
3/4 cup blanched hazelnuts, toasted and crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
FOR THE PEA & WILD GARLIC PURÉE
4 1/2 cups frozen peas
3 ounces wild garlic leaves, thoroughly washed and chopped
5 tablespoons salted butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
wild garlic flowers and pert leaves, thoroughly washed, to garnish
For hazelnuts: Place a frying pan over high heat, add the hazelnuts, and toast, shaking the pan frequently to toast the nuts evenly, for 3 minutes—this will release all the oils and the flavor. Put the toasted hazelnuts onto one half of a clean kitchen towel, then fold over the other half of the kitchen towel to cover and bash the nuts with a rolling pin until crushed.
Remove the racks of lamb from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Using a sharp knife, score the fat of the lamb racks in a crisscross pattern. Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Add each rack in turn, fat side down, to the hot pan and sear the fat, then transfer to a large roasting pan.
Mix the herbs, crushed hazelnuts, and olive oil together in a small bowl, then press the mixture onto the seared fat of the lamb racks. Roast for 15 minutes.
While the lamb is roasting, prepare the pea and wild garlic purée: Cook the frozen peas in a saucepan of boiling water for 4 minutes. Drain and add to a blender or food processor along with the wild garlic and butter. Season with salt and pepper and blend to a smooth consistency. Transfer the purée to a saucepan ready to warm through just before serving.
Remove the lamb racks from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes, then slice into individual cutlets. Spoon the warmed pea and wild garlic purée in the center of four warmed plates and lay three lamb cutlets on top. Garnish each serving with wild garlic flowers and a pert wild garlic leaf.
Clodagh’s Suppers by Clodagh McKenna © 2019 Kyle Books, and photographs © Dora Kazmierak. No images may be used, in print or electronically, without written consent from the publisher.
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