A saddle of lamb is a fine sight. I made this for Easter one year, hence the saffron sauce, as saffron is traditionally associated with the spring feast. The garlic for the creamy sauce is blanched and then roasted underneath the meat so it becomes mild and sweet. Prepare the saddle for cooking the day before. It should be carved in long thin strips down the length of the joint.
Using a sharp knife, make incisions in the lamb on the underside of the joint. Put the rosemary leaves, anchovy fillets and their oil, green peppercorns, lemon juice, sherry and
Before you cook the lamb, put the cream into a saucepan with the saffron and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave on one side to infuse. Peel the garlic and cut each clove lengthways into quarters or halves, depending on size. Bring a small pan of water to the boil, drop in the garlic and simmer for 2 minutes, then drain.
Turn the saddle of lamb over in the pan and smear the skin all over with the remaining olive oil and some crushed sea salt. Put on the centre shelf of the oven and, after 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Remove the roasting pan from the oven, put the blanched garlic underneath the meat and return to the oven.
Now make the sauce. Pour the excess fat from the roasting pan, leaving the juices and garlic in the pan. Stir in the caster sugar. Pour the saffron cream into the pan and bring to bubbling on top of the stove, stirring all the time. Bubble, still stirring, for about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, season to taste with salt and black pepper, stir in the yoghurt and pour into a heated sauce bowl to serve with the carved lamb.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.