Last weekend at the farmers market one of the butchers had a couple of pieces of non-descript meat laid over the counter. I asked what they were and the man said, “Breast of lamb’, and he suggested I pay £10,00 for the mince I was buying instead of £8.00. So I tool them and thy were worth it.
The good cooking of breast lamb involves delving into an old Elizabeth David recipe which has since been resurrected by Simon Hopkinson and more recently Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Simon Hopkinson simply quotes the Elizabeth David recipe in full and reading it last night I was struck by the lack of clear instruction but the precision in what to do. The actual work in all took less than twenty minutes but it required time to bring it all together.
I started by putting the slab of meat into a roasting tray with some chopped onion, a piece of bacon, some parsley and a good pinch of salt of pepper. I poured about a pint of water around it all and put it into a low oven for a couple of hours.
It then came out to cool a while and once it had done that I pulled out whatever bones I could see sticking out and then put it in the fridge on a plate with another plate on top to weigh it down.
This evening I started off by cutting the meat into slices about the size of a fish finger. The slices were then wetted in some egg and covered in breadcrumbs. They all went under the grill. As they went in I doused them in melted butter. Once they started to cook under the heat I turned them over and doused them in more butter. They took about twenty minutes to cook so the they were hot all the way through and the breadcrumbs crisped up.
Elizabeth David calls for a sharp sauce. I didn’t have that but ate them with my fingers dipping them in mustard as I went along.
Looking back on the way they were slung over the butcher’s counter I am not sure he thought they were destined for much more than pet food.