It is great that you can enjoy Irish lamb all year round. We have Connemara hill lamb back on our menu in the restaurant and it is always very popular.
It tastes wonderful because of the unique diet of wild herbs, flowers and heathers that the animals eat. There is a lot of very good Irish produced halloumi available now. The Proper Dairy Company in Clonmel is one that comes to mind. Or you could use goat’s cheese.
This lamb dish would also be delicious all cooked on the barbecue, as would the crispy lamb cutlets which are just like lollipops. They are tender and full of flavour. The panko breadcrumbs give nice texture and are available in most supermarkets. You could try using the cauliflower and leek purée with chicken or fish. It freezes well.
Chargrilled Lamb, Courgette and Halloumi Salad
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tbsp honey
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 heaped tsp chopped fresh oregano, rosemary or thyme (or use a mixture), plus extra to garnish
4–6 × 150g (5oz) lamb leg steaks
2 green courgettes, thinly sliced lengthways into ribbons
1 yellow courgette, thinly sliced lengthways into ribbons
250g (9oz) halloumi, cut into 12 slices
1 lemon, cut into wedges
100g (4oz) baby plum tomatoes, halved
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
baby spinach salad
1 Preheat a griddle pan over a medium-high heat. Mix together the oil, honey, garlic and herbs in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Brush all over the lamb, courgettes and halloumi.
2 Add the lamb to the griddle pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until medium-rare, or continue until cooked to your liking.
3 Transfer to a plate to rest, cover loosely with foil and keep warm.
4 Add the courgettes to the pan and sear for 2–3 minutes on each side, until cooked through and tender. Transfer to a plate and set aside until needed.
5 Add the halloumi and lemon wedges to the griddle pan. Cook the halloumi for 30 seconds on each side and the lemon until nicely chargrilled.
6 Arrange the courgette salad on plates with the chargrilled lamb and halloumi.
7 Scatter over the baby plum tomatoes and add a dollop of tzatziki to each plate, then scatter over the herbs to garnish and add the lemon wedges.
8 Serve with baby spinach salad and wholemeal wraps.
Crispy Lamb Chops with Cauliflower and Leek Purée
75g (3oz) panko breadcrumbs
50g (2oz) Parma ham, very finely chopped
5 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4–6 boneless lamb chops (or 8–12 cutlets)
4 tbsp rapeseed oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the cauliflower and leek purée
25g (1oz) butter
120ml (4fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)
1 cauliflower, trimmed and broken into small florets
4 leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
6 tbsp cream
steamed French beans
1 Tip the breadcrumbs into a bowl and mix in the Parma ham, Parmesan and parsley.
2 Season generously with freshly ground black pepper, then mix really well. Tip into a shallow dish.
3 Trim any excess fat off the chops or cutlets, then beat a little bit with a meat tenderiser or a rolling pin (a frying pan would also do the job).
4 Beat the eggs in a separate dish and season generously, then use to coat the chops or cutlets.
5 Cover with the breadcrumb mixture, ensuring they are each evenly coated. Set aside.
6 To make the cauliflower and leek purée, bring the butter and stock to the boil in a pan with a lid until it forms an emulsion.
7 Add the cauliflower florets with a good pinch of salt, cover the pan and cook for 6–8 minutes, until tender.
8 Tip in the leeks and cook for another 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just tender but still a vibrant green colour.
9 Add the cream and blitz with a hand-held blender until smooth, then season generously with pepper.
10 Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat.
11 Add the coated chops and cook for 3–4 minutes on each side for large chops or 1–2 minutes on each side if using cutlets. They should be crisp on the outside but still pink in the middle.
12 Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
13 Meanwhile, gently reheat the cauliflower and leek purée and divide between warmed serving plates.
14 Add the crispy chops and French beans with a dollop of redcurrant jelly to serve.