Easter is nearly upon us, bringing with it a long weekend full of chocolates, hot cross buns, Easter Egg hunts and good food and wine aplenty.
But who knows what Easter will bring weather wise? We could be sunning ourselves in the garden or huddling around an open fire to keep warm.
Whatever the weather, I am delighted to provide, in collaboration with Leiths School of Food and Wine two delicious recipes as well as the perfect wine pairings.
Butterflied Leg of Lamb with a Caper and Anchovy Relish
1 leg of lamb, about 2–3kg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the relish
1 garlic clove
75g anchovy fillets in oil
2 tbsp olive oil
Large bunch of parsley
¼ bunch of thyme
¼ bunch of oregano
3–4 tbsp small capers, rinsed and drained180ml extra virgin olive oil
1 Bone and butterfly the lamb (see page 427).
2 Heat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. Weigh the lamb and calculate the cooking time, allowing 6–8 minutes per 450g, plus 20 minutes.
3 Open out the lamb, season it on the underside and lay it skin side up in an oiled roasting tin. Sprinkle the skin with salt and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then lower the oven setting to 190°C/gas mark 5 and continue to roast for the remainder of the calculated cooking time.
4 Meanwhile, to make the relish, halve, peel and finely dice the shallots, peel and crush the garlic and drain and coarsely chop the anchovies.
Heat the 2 tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan, add the shallots and sweat
for 5minutes until just starting to soften. Add the garlic and anchovies
and sauté over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes until the anchovies start to melt. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
5 Juice the ½ lemon. Finely chop enough of the parsley, thyme and
oregano leaves to give you 4–5 tbsp in total.
6 Add the capers, herbs and extra virgin olive oil to the cooled relish
mixture and stir in enough lemon juice to balance the oil. Taste and
season with pepper (the anchovies and capers add enough salt).
7 Once the lamb is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave to rest for 15–20 minutes. To serve, slice the meat across the grain and arrange on a large serving platter. Spoon a little of the relish over the lamb and serve the rest in a bowl.
This delicious recipe can be found on page 446 in Leiths How To Cook
The Perfect Wine to accompany Butterflied Lamb
Forget about the protein – it’s much more important to focus on the condiments and spices!
Anchovies and capers are tangy, salty and fresh. To let these ingredients shine it is important to find a wine which matches them in their zippy pizazz and the acidity can cut through the fattiness of the meat.
White Wine lovers can also have A LOT of fun with lamb!
Best White Wine Option:
Island wines with maritime, saline flair like Sardinian Vermentino, Sicilian White and Assyrtiko from Santorini. Italian Whites from Campania with their earthiness and fab acidity such as Fiano and Falanghina. White Bordeaux would elevate the herbs and garlic beautifully.
Rose would also be a safe option especially a more restrained Rose from Provence due to its acidity and herbal freshness.
Reds are more tricky but aim for something with good acidity and an earthy or hebaceous undertone .
Italian reds tend to have this in spades and a Sicilian Red or a Sardinian Cannanou would hold their own without blanketing the zesty sauce. I also think an aromtic, light red frm the Loire would match the herbaceous freshness perfectly.
Ultimately you don’t want anything too oaky or high in alcohol as it would clash with the other ingredients and dry out the wine in the process.
Noisette of Lamb with Ratatouille