Lawrence Murphy: Prime time for English lamb – the best baa none

Lamb sweetbreads with broad beans.

Lamb sweetbreads with broad beans.

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Although new season lamb is associated with Easter I don’t believe it’s at its best until at least the end of May and tastes even better as the months go on.

Latter lambs are allowed to feed from their mothers in the open air and then start to eat grass to fatten and develop in flavour.

You can eat lamb all year round from places where they outnumber humans, but now is the time to consume the best British lamb for firm pink and tasty meat.

Along with this beautiful produce comes a lot of other interesting cuts and I have fond memories of stuffed hearts and fried kidneys from my child hood. Hearts were a special treat.

A prized offal for chefs is lamb sweetbreads – the thymus or pancreas glands and not what most people think they are. You will have to pester your butcher to get this wonderful ingredient as most restaurants will be trying to get there before you.

They have a lovely creamy texture and delicate lamb flavour and I suggest you try them in small quantities as you will either love or hate them.

Cooking them does take a little time but it’s worth the effort.

Although new season lamb is associated with Easter I don’t believe it’s at its best until at least the end of May and tastes even better as the months go on.

Latter lambs are allowed to feed from their mothers in the open air and then start to eat grass to fatten and develop in flavour.

You can eat lamb all year round from places where they outnumber humans, but now is the time to consume the best British lamb for firm pink and tasty meat.

Along with this beautiful produce comes a lot of other interesting cuts and I have fond memories of stuffed hearts and fried kidneys from my child hood. Hearts were a special treat.

A prized offal for chefs is lamb sweetbreads – the thymus or pancreas glands and not what most people think they are. You will have to pester your butcher to get this wonderful ingredient as most restaurants will be trying to get there before you.

They have a lovely creamy texture and delicate lamb flavour and I suggest you try them in small quantities as you will either love or hate them.

Cooking them does take a little time but it’s worth the effort.

Lamb sweetbreads with broad beans

Ingredients

400g lamb sweetbreads

1 carrot

1 onion

1 stick celery

1 leek

5 cloves garlic

Sprig rosemary

8 black peppercorns

Seasoning

250g broad beans

70g salad leaves

Dessertspoon capers

Small bunch mint

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon white balsamic

Tablespoon capers

Method

1. Cover sweetbreads in water. Add two teaspoons of salt. Leave for 24 hours.

2. Rinse sweetbreads in cold water.

3. Chop carrot, onion, celery and leek into 2cm pieces and place in large saucepan.

4. Cut garlic in two, add to pan withrosemary and peppercorns. Cover in water and bring to the boil.

5 . Simmer for five minutes. Add sweetbreads.

6. Simmer for seven minutes. Turn off heat.

7. Allow sweetbreads to cool. Remove fine membrane with a knife.

8. Blanch broad beans in boiling water for three minutes. Remove outer casing.

9. While sweetbreads are cooking prepare mint dressing by putting mint, oil and vinegar in liquidiser. Pulse for a minute.

10. Heat a frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil until hot, add sweetbreads. Turn them until golden brown all over. Season.

11. Arrange sweetbreads on plates. Add salad leaves, capers and mint dressing.

Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth (fatolives.co.uk) on 01243 377914.

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