Lamb in a pond of loveliness

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    8

    Main Course Portions
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Mile 8: A book about cooking

Mile 8

By David Higgs

Published 2018

  • About
Five Hundred at The Saxon

Les Étoile de Mougins is a festival in the little town of Mougins outside Cannes. Over the last few years I have been invited to cook there with chefs from around the world showcasing local fare. This is a dish I did there with waterblommetjies and karoo lamb. The sous vide method for cooking the waterblommetjies is great for restaurant purpose and presentation but I still prefer them slightly overcooked in a good lamb broth or stew.

Ingredients

Lamb noisette

  • 1.5 kg lamb loin – deboned

Baby onions

  • 16 whole baby onions
  • coarse salt

Waterblommetjies

  • 24 waterblommetjies
  • 100 g chicken stock
  • 40 g butter
  • 15 g lemon juice
  • 5 g salt

Potato pebbles

Method

Remove the whole loin from the fat. Trim the fat as thinly as possible and bat out, or flatten, with a meat bat (kitchen tool used for flattening meat and poultry). Replace the meat back onto the fat and roll into a noisette. Truss with butcher’s string and place onto the grill over medium coals. Grill slowly for around 8 minutes, until golden brown on all sides. Alternatively, fry in olive oil blend and butter in a hot pan, basting while turning. Leave the meat to rest for 20 minutes in a warm place.

Line a tray with coarse salt and lay the baby onions on top. Roast in a 180°C oven for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and reserve the outer layer of the onions for onion powder. Use the innermost part of the onions when serving.

Place the waterblommetjies in a vacuum bag with the remaining ingredients. Vacuum seal and sous vide at 89°C for 8 hours until the waterblommetjies are tender. Alternatively, cook the waterblommetjies until tender in a vacuum pack in simmering water for 6–8 hours.

Wash the potatoes but do not peel them, and place in a small pot with cold water and salt. Bring to the boil and cook until just soft. Remove from the water and keep warm.

Make the squid ink sponge as per the recipe, then tip the cups upside down to cool and remove each sponge. Place under heating lamps until crisp. Alternatively, crisp them in a 50°C warming drawer. Break into 3 pieces for individual servings.

To assemble, slice each lamb noisette into 3–4 pieces and plate. On each plate, arrange 2 baby onions, 3 waterblommetjies, 3 potatoes, 3 pieces of crisp black squid ink sponge, 20 g spinach purée and 5 ml tapenade. Dust the potatoes with onion and porcini powder and finish with 50 ml beef jus, 1½ nasturtium leaves and lemon zest.