Spring lamb has our boys smiling.
Strewth! The joys of spring lamb have Colin Fassnidge and Anthony Puharich in a rare show of furious agreement as they celebrate the best produce Australia has to offer.
A Spring; it’s about celebrating Australia. Do you know where Australia is?
C Yeah! My kids are Australian. I’m an Australian citizen! I’m like a pillar of this country now.
A Right. Anyway, it’s about the delicious. Produce Awards. A celebration of great Australian produce. So I’ve chosen lamb.
C When I think of lamb, I think of green fields. I think of grass, waving on the wind. A Yeah, right. Totally agree. C Green grass. Broad beans. Peas. Green shoots. I think of pure. I think of new starts. A It’s about growth; new beginnings. C Yeah, it’s fresh. You can start again. A You can start all over again. And I like this dish. A lot.
C The produce speaks for itself. You know what this dish is? It’s like when you open your window in spring.
A This is like the Byron Bay of dishes. Are we renewing our vows?
C Maybe we are! Australian produce is the staple of our business. It’s the only way we can grow and make money. If you’re buying from abroad, you can’t make money. And the quality is incredible, so why would we shop elsewhere?
A Of course I agree. But all the technical questions you should let me answer. You can do the flowery stuff.
C If we want to keep this man in a Lamborghini, we need to shop local! A Okay, okay. Back to the recipe. C This is very simple. The buttermilk is the easiest cheese you’re ever going to make. I put this in because I want to see you make it – that’s how easy it is. You put a carton in some water and that’s it really. You can get your kids to help you because they’re the intelligent ones. Then we’ll serve it with a simple spring salad and let the lamb speak for itself.
A Who’s going to cook the lamb? You? Or are you going to stick with potatoes? You probably used the Ask The Butcher app for this one. We should have a cook-off.
C It’s an easy recipe, this one. You’re my friend. I don’t want to embarrass you. Spring is about simple. It’s about butterflies, bees and you: SIMPLE!
SPICED LAMB WITH BUTTERMILK & SPRING SALAD SERVES 6
Begin this recipe at least 2 hours ahead. You will need a kitchen thermometer.
600ml (1 carton) buttermilk 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tbs coriander seeds, toasted 1/ 2 bunch basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped 1/ 3 cup (80ml) olive oil, plus extra to drizzle 4 x 300g lamb backstraps, trimmed
1/ 2 bunch mint, leaves picked 500g frozen broad beans, blanched,
refreshed, podded 2 cups loosely packed snow pea shoots
(substitute picked watercress) Lemon wedges, to serve
To make the buttermilk curd, completely open the top of the carton to release any air. Close the carton and transfer to a saucepan, then carefully fill pan with water to the level of the buttermilk (avoid letting any water enter the carton). Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes or until a kitchen thermometer inserted in the centre of the buttermilk reaches 80°C. Carefully remove the carton and stand for 5 minutes for the curds to separate from the whey.
Line a fine sieve with a large square of muslin or a clean Chux cloth. Set over a bowl and carefully add separated curds and whey. Fold over cloth to cover. Chill for at least 1 hour to drain, then discard liquid, reserving strained curds. (Curds will keep, chilled in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.)
Meanwhile, to make the marinade for the lamb, using a mortar and pestle, pound garlic, coriander, basil stalks, half the basil leaves and 1 tsp each salt flakes and freshly ground black peppercorns to a rough paste. Transfer to a bowl with 2 tbs olive oil. Add lamb and toss well to coat. Set aside for 1 hour to marinate and come to room temperature before cooking.
When ready to cook the lamb, heat remaining 2 tbs oil in a frypan over medium-high heat. In 2 batches, add lamb and cook, turning halfway, for 6-7 minutes or until medium rare. Set first batch aside to rest, loosely covered with foil, and repeat with remaining lamb.
Combine mint leaves, broad beans, snow pea shoots and remaining basil leaves in a bowl. Thickly slice lamb and drizzle with extra olive oil. Serve with buttermilk curd and lemon wedges.