British Spring Lamb is available from early May and is perhaps one of our best foods which we produce here in the UK.
Lamb can vary in taste, according to the age of the animal and the type of pasture it was grazed on.
The first new season lamb you see in the shops is most likely to come from the South West of England where the native sheep lamb pretty early. As the spring season progresses you will see new season lamb from more northern parts of the country on sale.
New season lamb is very popular due to its delicate flavour and tenderness. The younger the animal the sweeter, more tender the meat and milder the flavour, which means you don’t need to add many other flavours when cooking other than a bit of seasoning. This tenderness is why Spring Lamb is so popular.
Once the Lamb enters its second spring (or one year), it becomes known as Hogget, and then after 18 months becomes known as Mutton. As you may be aware, the meat will become darker, and the muscles more developed. This creates a richer flavour, but some of the tenderness is lost as the meat matures.
If you fancy enjoying Spring Lamb at its very best, why not try the recipe below for grilled lamb rack, with green sauce and shaved fennel salad. This would work fantastically using a griddle pan or a barbeque. In my opinion, to really enjoy the tenderness of the Spring Lamb, it is best to keep the accompaniments simple!
Grilled Lamb Rack, Green Sauce & Roasted Fennel
For the Lamb:
2 x 8-bone Lamb Racks (at room temperature)
2 x Sprigs Rosemary
2 x Sprigs Thyme
1 x Clove of Garlic (smashed, skin on)
For the Green Sauce:
1 x small bunch of parsley
1 x garlic clove (grated)
1 x lemon (zested)
A glug of good olive oil
2 x tbsp. chopped capers
For the Fennel:
2 x Bulbs Fennel (cut into ¼’s)
100ml White Wine
200ml Lamb Stock
Pinch chopped Dill
- Preheat your oven to 200°c. Then place all of your ingredients for the green sauce into a pestle & mortar. You could use a food processor, but I prefer it this way! Pound until it forms a beautiful green paste. It should be thick with herbs. Check the seasoning and reserve for later.
- Next, lightly score the fat covering the lamb rack. Season liberally and place into a hot frying pan, fat side down. Add the herbs and minced garlic to the fat in the pan. Once a deep golden brown colour, flip over and colour lightly underneath, followed by the last side. Place onto a baking tray and cook in the oven for around 10 minutes. The lamb is best eaten at around medium, medium rare may be a little chewy. Rest the meat in a warm place.
- Next, take the frying pan with all of the rendered lamb fat, and place the fennel in, cut side down, and roast all the way around until golden brown on all sides. Remove the fennel from the pan, and tip away any excess fat. Place the pan back on the heat and pour in the white wine. Reduce this until it has nearly all evaporated. Add the fennel back into the pan, followed by the stock. Place the pan into the oven for around 10 minutes to finish cooking the fennel.
- Remove the fennel from the oven, and reduce the liquid a little. Whisk in the butter and finish with the chopped dill. Add the fennel back in and coat the pieces with the liquid.
- To serve, carve the lamb into chops, and serve with the fennel. Finish with the green sauce.