|That's summer, right there.|
This is a less is more recipe. Something quite refined which I've never been very good at (see my lamb tagine recipe). This is I don't know why but I feel like this is quite grown up. It is super springy, a celebration of everything that is green and fresh, super light to eat, but in a sophisticated dinner way, not a salady way. Cooking lettuce feels a bit special, it's my new favourite thing, transforming a crisp tight bundle of bright green to something a little more mellow and soft, but still with a little refreshing bite. I'm still reeling from how easy and quick it was so make, it would be perfect for a dinner party served up in a massive shallow dish. I want to cook it again, now.
Serves two. Heat oven to 200c. Slice four spring onions, half a fennel bulb, two garlic cloves finely, and quarter two little gems lengthways, removing the very end but leaving root so you get nice wedges. Rub approx 450g lamb neck fillet (a little goes a long way) with olive oil and season. In a hot oven-proof frying pan, sear the lamb really well on both sides, about 5 minutes each side, no more. Put straight into the oven for about 7 minutes, remove from oven and cover in foil. Meanwhile melt a generous knob of butter in a saucepan and saute the spring onions and fennel until softened but not browned. Add garlic and stir for one minute. Throw in a small glass of white wine, and perhaps take a slurp yourself. Once this has bubbled for a minute or so add the lettuce and two handfuls of fresh peas. Don't bother with frozen ones here, just don't. For the lazy (me) you can buy fresh podded peas, so no excuse. Add 300ml chicken stock (sooo much better with home-made) and let this simmer for about 5 more minutes, until the peas are cooked and the lettuce has wilted a bit. Season. Slice up the lamb and serve on top of a pile of the green vegetables and their now amazing brothy sauce. Stick a wedge of lemon on the side for good measure.
This is so simple that it's kind of baffling how good it is, but you let the ingredients speak for themselves and they have a lot to say. Not in a loud shouty way, more of a pleasant soft murmering way. Don't overshadow them with too much garlic or lemon (I am the first to overdo flavours normally), stick to the recipe and enjoy summer on a plate.