These days, Spring couldn’t be more “in full swing” if it tried around our parts. To me, a Spring and Autumn person through and through, it couldn’t be more inviting – not only to go for a long hike, but to go on an extended cooking-spree on the occasional rainy day with all the delicious goodies that come with the season as well~! Today’s dish is my way of celebrating the “Best of Spring” in a light, lunch-appropriate, salady way – Part #1 of my Spring Celebration 2020, if you will – Part #2, the Spring Dinner, will come your way next~
Just a word in advance – you may wish to marinade the lamb for a longer period of time, so have a look-see at the lamb-part of the recipe before you start whirlwinding your way through the salad and dressing bits.
150-200g Wild Herb Salad
100g Blackberries, carefully cleaned and halved
100g Peas, shelled and blanched fresh ones or frozen ones rinsed with a glug of boiling water
150g Low Fat Sheepsmilk Feta
1 Shallot, very finely diced
2-3 Leafy Sprigs of Mint (unless there’s mint in the herb mix already)
1) Scatter the leaves on one large or 2 separate, smaller plates.
2) Evenly distribute the shallot cubes, berries, peas and mint leaves on the leafy beds.
3) Crumble the cheese on top and set the plate(s) aside for the time being.
200g Fillet of Lamb
1 Clove of Garlic, thinly sliced
2 Sprigs of Rosemary
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper and Coarse Sea Salt to taste
Olive Oil – enough to cover the fillets in their container
2 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Ghee
1) Ok, if you – like me – have a habit of giving your lamb a bit of a Spa treatment before the gig, start with these few steps the night before pan’o’clock:
2) Rub the fillets with honey and place them on the two sprigs of rosemary waiting at the bottom of an airtight container.
3) Generously season them with salt and pepper and stick slivers of garlic all around them.
4) Top them off with enough olive oil to cover them, then pop on the lid and seal them in.
5) Place the container in the fridge over night and retrieve it about 1 hour before it’s time for them to face the heat.
6) If you’re in a hurry however, do the same but for any shorter amount of time that fits your schedule – even if it comes down to rubbing the fillets with honey and oil as the ghee is melting in the pan already.
7) Speaking of, no matter which treatment you’ve given your lamb, once it’s time, melt the ghee in a wide, heavy-based pan sitting on medium heat.
8) Once the ghee has dissolved, pick up the fillets, shake off any excess oil and gently lay them into the pan along with the garlic slivers and rosemary sprigs. Hold onto 1-2 Tbsp of the marinade for the dressing.
9) Give them just enough time – this absolutely depends on their thickness, so I can’t give you any specific amount of time – until the pressure-test comes back with a “slightly firm, mildly springy” result for a pretty-in-pink spring lamb. Or with the result you personally prefer for your lamb, just keep in mind that you’re dealing with fillets, they always feel softer than any other piece, even if they’re completely overcooked.
10) Take them out of the pan and place them on a warm plate before covering them up with a sheet of tinfoil.
11) Don’t discard the remains still sitting in your pan just yet, you’re actually going to use them for the dressing~
The Blackberry Dressing
The Lamb-roasting Juices. Rosemary and (perhaps) Garlic removed
1-2 Tbsp of the Marinade
1 Organic/Unwaxed Lemon, Zest
2 Tbsp White or Rosé Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1) Take a quick look-see at the color of the garlic slivers and consult with your tastebuds whether you want them in your dressing or not – and throw them out… or not.
2) Toss the rosemary and add the leftover marinade to the pan.
3) Give the infused oil 2-3 mins to warm up, then gently loosen up everything sticking to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
4) Turn off the heat and add the blackberries – give them a good swirl and leave them to their own devices while taking care of the rest.
5) Place everything else in a stick-blender friendly container and, after they had 2-3 mins in the heat, add the contents of your pan – berries, oil, crispy bits… all of it~!
6) Give the lot a good whizz until you’re looking at a silky smooth dressing to make your day.
Assembling the Dish
All that’s left to do is…
1) …retrieve your salad beds, slice up the lamb into bite-sized pieces and place the pieces on the plates.
2) Drizzle the dressing on top and, if you’ve decided to add some yoghurt for the fun of it, place a few well-aimed drops of it between the leaves to make the colors pop out even more.
3) Whet your forks, ready, set, go~!