Lamb Cutlets with Salsa Verde on White Bean
Salsa verde has some very strange physical qualities – no matter how small an amount of it you think you are making, the finished quantity always seems to require a bucket and spare fridge shelf for storage. Fortunately, this is not too large a problem, as it does keep, and, once you start thinking about how you might use it all up, you realise that it tastes fantastic on almost any meat, and even certain fish. Salsa verde with grilled sardines would be nice – with extra olive oil and some dill chopped into the mix perhaps…
Speaking of chopping, sadly, it does have to be done by hand. I’ve tried in the past to cheat with a food processor, but the result is awful – you get a liquid-seeping mess as opposed to a nicely textured chop. On the other hand, with a big chopping board, and a mezzaluna knife, the whole process can actually be quite therapeutic…
Unlike salsa verde, white bean mash is one thing that there never seems to be nearly enough of! It’s one of my favourite things to eat and to make – it’s very versatile (blend for a puree, mash roughly by hand for a more rustic effect), as well as being ridiculously quick and simple to prepare. Fortunately, the standard 400g tin size does force me to exercise a degree of portion control, one day though I might become organised enough to start soaking dried beans, and then it will be all bets off…
(Should serve 4 – but best clear some fridge space just in case!)
- 1 clove garlic – peeled
- Small bunch of parsley
- ½ small bunch of mint
- Small handful capers
- 6 small gherkins (cornichons)
- 2 small anchovy fillets
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp extra virgin oil olive
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
White Bean Mash
- 400g tin of Cannellini beans – drained and rinsed
- 4 tsbp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 small anchovy fillets
- 2 cloves garlic – crushed
- 1 level tsp crushed dried chilli
- 150mls water
- 1 lemon – juice only
- 12 lamb cutlets – French trimmed. Ask you butcher to do this.
(Anchovies feature heavily in this dish – if you are seriously averse, they can be left out – but trust me when I say that they are totally undetectable in the finished product, and certainly don’t ‘give a fishy’ flavour. Their presence is more about salt, the deep savouriness of anchovy works really well with lamb, bringing out the best in its rich flavour.)
Chop the garlic, parsley, mint, capers gherkins, and anchovies together using a large knife until you achieve a fine, chopped texture. Stir through the Dijon, and the vinegar, as well as the lemon zest. Add the oil olive in a fine drizzle until you achieve a good consistency – still chunky, but with a good coat of oil is the only way I can think to describe it! Add a grind of pepper, and a small amount of salt to taste. You may also wish to add a little more vinegar, again depending on your taste. I think it is nice to ere on the more acidic side.
To make the bean mash, fry the anchovies in olive oil, in a small saucepan, giving them a stir as they cook. When they begin to break up, add the crushed garlic, and dried chilli. Cook together for a minute or so, taking care not to burn the garlic, then add the drained beans and 150mls of water. Bring to the boil, then squeeze in the lemon juice and turn the heat down to low.
Heat a griddle pan to high. Brush the cutlets on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, cook the cutlets for 2 minutes on each side (adjusting if necessary depending on the thickness of your particular cutlets, or cooking longer if you’d prefer your meat medium to well done).
Meanwhile, puree the beans with a stick blender for a fine texture, or mash roughly by hand, leaving some beans whole, for a more rustic appearance.
To serve, dollop a serving spoon of bean mash onto each plate, creating a slight well in the centre of each with the back of the spoon. Arrange the cutlets vertically in the well to form a tepee shape, the bones resting against one another at the top. Spoon over generous amount of the salsa verde, and garnish, if you like, with some whole parsley or mint leaves. A nice drizzle of olive oil to finish wouldn’t go astray…