Nothing says spring like the sweet, delicate taste of lamb. With Donald Russell’s quick and easy recipe for lamb Provençal, it couldn’t be simpler to dish up an impressive, melt-in-the-mouth Easter meal.
The deliciously tart flavours of lemon curd, mingled with a bittersweet chocolate base in Riverford Organics’ recipe, follows on beautifully from the lamb – keep any leftover lemon curd in the fridge for spreading on toast or muffins.
Preheat your oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. In a frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil, add the shallots and garlic, and cook for two minutes – take care not to allow them to colour.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the breadcrumbs, thyme, rosemary, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the egg and mustard, ensuring that the mixture holds together – a little oil can be added to bind the mixture if required.
Spread 1 tablespoon of oil in a roasting pan, add the lamb, and turn to ensure it’s coated with oil on all sides. Roast in the oven for 9 minutes, turning once so the lamb browns on both sides.
Remove from the oven and spread the mixture evenly over the meat. Return the lamb to the oven and roast for a further 8 minutes for rare, or 13 minutes for well done.
Remove the lamb from the oven and place under a high grill until the crust turns a beautiful golden brown. Transfer it to a warm platter, and rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
Serve with roasted vegetables and new potatoes.
Enjoy rack of lamb from £8.50 with Donald Russell – buy now
Virgin Wines recommends the Finca Los Principes El Rihuelo Rioja 2011 – its silky fruit and herb flavours match the lamb’s thyme and rosemary crust perfectly. This wine is also available in the Discovery Club Luxury Mixed Welcome Case – AA members save £40.
For the lemon curd
For the tart
To make the lemon curd: lightly beat the eggs in a small saucepan. Add the lemon juice, sugar and butter. Heat very gently to melt the butter and sugar crystals, stirring constantly.
When the butter and sugar have melted, keep stirring on the heat for another few minutes – keep the heat very low to prevent the eggs from curdling.
As soon as the mixture starts to thicken and has the consistency of thin custard, remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Leave to cool, then place in the fridge.
To make the tart: bring a pan of water up to simmering point. Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl (it should fit snugly over the pan), without letting the bowl touch the water. Simmer to melt the chocolate and butter.
Put the biscuit crumbs in a large bowl. Pour over the melted chocolate mixture and stir well to thoroughly combine. Spread into the tin and use your fingers to firmly and evenly press the mixture over the bottom and sides. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a large jug, lightly beat the eggs together. Add the lemon curd, cream and lemon zest and stir together. Pour the lemon mixture into the tart tin and put on a baking tray on the middle shelf of your oven.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until just set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
If you want to decorate your tart, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, as before. Carefully spoon into a piping bag with a small single-hole nozzle, and pipe lines across the tart.
A sweet yet refreshing Muscat works wonders with the lemony flavours of the tart. Virgin Wines recommends the Tabali Late Harvest Muscat 2010 – an absolute bargain at only £6.99.
(24 October 2013)