For the uninitiated amongst you, a lepidopterist is a butterfly expert. I wouldn’t know a Painted Lady if she landed on my face and a Comma would only give me pause, as it were. I do a pretty passable job of butterflying a leg of lamb but that doesn’t makes me a butterfly expert. As I was feeling fairly lazy when shopping, I bought my leg of lamb butterflied. So, I spent my time thinking about a marinade. This Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Fennel, Chilli and Honey will have you all a flutter.
It’s a very long time since I studied economics. One of its cornerstones is the law of supply and demand. Simply put, it states that as demand increases the price does likewise. This then encourages new market entrants which increase supply, bringing the price back to where it started. In macroeconomic terms, this works pretty well. In the tiny world of retail that I occupy, this law doesn’t apply. So often, I have my enquiries rebuffed by slovenly sales staff with “No, there’s no demand for them.” or the one that really boils my ageing blood “No, there’s no demand for them any more.”. If I were looking for something like a set of E-180 cassettes or a pair of long johns with a trapdoor, I might not find this so upsetting. But, when I’m looking for lamb ribs in a butcher’s shop, I get pretty irate. “We used to sell them but it’s only the Chinese who eat them now.” was what the spotty youth in fancy dress said to me.
Sorry for the blunt headline. But, I need your attention. If you are lucky enough to be able to get your hands on a delicious rack of genuine Irish spring lamb, don’t go messing around with it. Cook it simply and serve it with other nice simple fare. Don’t go overboard, spicing, adding heat or generally fecking around with it. The flavour is delicious, delicate and doesn’t need much else.
How do great recipes get their titles? Eggs Benedict is claimed by various New York establishments. Sole Meunière (meaning "in the manner of the miller's wife") is claimed by a few. Don't get me going on the origins of the Beef Wellington. It seems that
I get a lot of fun out of the blog. It keeps me in touch with friends old and new from all parts of the globe. I learn lots and hopefully I give a little back. One of the ‘friends’ I have gathered to my metaphorical bosom (being male and of “a certain age” my bosom is most definitely metaphorical) is Adam J. Holland, the oddball Texan and author of the excellent RV Chronicles on his Unorthodox Epicure blog. I have cooked numerous chillies over the last couple of years, having been introduced to “real” chilli by the late and great Richard E. McGary our much missed Dallas blogger. Having received a gift of some chillies, I was delighted to tell Adam that I planned to cook a lamb chilli. His reaction surprised me somewhat….
“I’m a mild-mannered man.” Or so said one of my Holy Ghost Father teachers before knocking seven levels of hell out of us with a stiff black leather. Primary school education back in 1960’s Ireland was not what it is today. I well remember a dozen of us being punished for cycling in the yard after school. The punishment was “six of the best”, with the leather, on each hand. I was moved for my secondary education to the Christian Brothers in Monkstown. That is another oxymoronic story altogether and probably has no place here, not today anyway. So, with mild manners in mind, here’s a delicious recipe for Mild Lamb and Aubergine Curry. Just like that Holy Ghost father, it too has the appearance of mildness yet packs a bit of a punch.
DIY. Now there’s a subject that we men like to treat as our own. If there is a shelf to be put up or a picture to be hung, I’m your man. Your man, as long as you aren’t a perfectionist. So what if the shelf slopes slightly to the right and the picture hangs just a little down on the left? Perfection is boring. When I was a bit younger, I managed to saw through the corner of our kitchen table while preparing a plank for the garden shed. That self-build garden shed was another story altogether. To my credit, I have never driven a nail into a water pipe. Though to balance that I have managed to screw straight into a live wire while hanging a picture hook. In short, with most DIY, you should really do it yourself. Don’t let me near it. But, when it comes to DIYing a Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Lemon, Thyme and Garlic, look no further – I really am your man.
Spring is a bit of a cures. It certainly is a bane if you happen to be a lamb. Easter, that very Christian celebration loomed very early this year and the vast bulk of the youthful sheep population trembled in fear. They were in fear because every God-fearing family in Christendom must have a leg of lamb on the table on Easter Sunday. The little darlings went to meet their maker leaving the butchers of Christendom scratching their heads, wondering how they were going to offload the rest of the beast. Easter is now a distant memory but the butchers of Ireland still have to do something with the spring lambs that have been arriving as nature intended, even if that’s too late for a very early Easter celebration. Their arrival made even later by a very late start to spring weather.
As I was struggling for an original dinner idea, I decided to ask a couple of foodie friends for suggestions. Given that I have cooked lamb shanks every which-way in the last while, when the best idea that emerged from their deliberations was “Why not do a lamb shank?” I wasn’t impressed. However, I hadn’t cooked them sous vide. So the thought arose and it didn’t really inspire me.