Lamb and fresh herbs
The flavour of spring lamb can be enhanced by the use of fresh spring herbs: parsley, dill, thyme, sage, chervil, chives, mint, basil, new rosemary shoots and any of the soft-leafed Asian herbs. They can also be used as a generous garnish on lamb dishes or to add layers of flavour to sauces and marinades.
To make a classic mint sauce, finely chop
2-3 tablespoons of mint, then combine with ¼ cup quality red-wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
For a marinade for lamb chops, combine 4 tablespoons of chopped rosemary, 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and black pepper.
Another delicious marinade is made by smashing garlic cloves with salt, then adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil, fresh thyme leaves and the juice and zest of a lemon.
For a great Mediterranean marinade to spread over a leg of lamb for the barbecue, combine 2 tablespoons of basil, a small tin of anchovies and their oil, the juice of a lemon and 4 cloves of garlic in a food processor and grind to a paste, or use mortar and pestle.
For a garnish, combine any finely chopped fresh herb with olive or avocado oil, salt and pepper, then drizzle over grilled lamb chops or backstraps.
Flavour a lamb shoulder or leg for roasting by making small holes in the flesh with a sharp knife, then poking in fresh rosemary tips.
To bring an Asian-style flavour to any spring lamb cut, make a marinade of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, the juice and zest of a lime and some Asian herbs, such as vietnamese mint or thai basil.
The fastest marinade is made by combining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of any fresh herbs from the list above and plenty of salt and pepper.