I’m having some trouble writing coherently today because I have one eye (OK – two eyes) on the news – I’m obsessing somewhat about the US election, and I really, really hope the polls are accurate. The BBC is currently showing helicopter footage of a queue of voters in Virginia – it’s so long that a helicopter is the only way they can film it.
Here’s a really fantastic lamb dish to serve to someone you’re trying to impress. Loin fillets are seared in olive oil and roasted briefly, so they’re still lovely and pink in the centre, then served with a butter sauce made dense and salty with shallots, anchovies and capers. The anchovies give amazing savoury depth and richness to the dish and go fabulously with lamb, but when cooked like this they don’t taste fishy – in fact, they melt into the sauce so completely that you will be able to serve this to anchovy-haters with no problems.
To serve two, you’ll need:
2 lamb loin fillets
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons capers (use tiny ones in wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon cream
100g salted butter
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil to garnish
Crush the garlic and rub it all over the lamb with the lemon zest, a little salt and plenty of pepper. Put aside for an hour at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 200° C.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan until it starts to shimmer, and sear the lamb all over in it. The pan must be very hot – you’re aiming to brown the lamb to a lovely mahogany colour. Place the whole, seared fillets in a roasting dish and put in the oven for ten minutes.
When the lamb has had ten minutes in the oven, take it out and rest it in its cooking dish in a warm place for another ten minutes while you make the sauce.
While the lamb is resting, make the sauce. Melt the butter in the frying pan (over a lower heat now) and add the finely chopped shallots. Simmer the shallots in the butter for five minutes, then add the anchovies and cook, stirring, until they have melted into the sauce. Still over a low heat, stir in the cream and capers, then use a balloon whisk to beat the lemon juice into the sauce. Start with half the juice and taste as you add more until you have a sauce which is tart and buttery all at once.
Slice the fillets into medallions and arrange on the plate with a drizzle of the sauce and some basil to garnish.