A dish from my cookbook, French Brasserie Cookbook:
It’s funny the things that get us excited. For me it is the seasons – not just the colours and the smellsm but knowing the soon certain produce is going to be available that hasn’t been around for a while. When spring arrives, it is wold garlic first, then peas and, at last, the new season’s spring lamb; milk-fed and unbelievably tender. Simply pan-roasted and served with courgettes, tomatoes and sauce vierge, this dish brings out all the freshness and colour of the Mediterranean. Enjoy it with a light rosé wine, close your eyes and there you are – in Provence.
2 lamb tenderloins, fully trimmed
4 rosemary sprigs
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe quantity Sauce Vierge (see below)
4-6 tbsp olive oil
2 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
1 eggplant, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 tomato, seeded and diced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Step 1: Heat the oven to 425°F.
Step 2: Season the lamb with salt and pepper, pierce each tenderloin on both sides with a sharp knife and insert a rosemary sprig into each opening.
Step 3: Heat a skillet with an ovenproof handle over medium heat and add the oil and garlic. Add the lamb and cook about 5 minutes, turning continuously, until sealed and golden brown all over. Transfer the skillet to the oven for 5-8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven, set aside and keep the lamb warm.
Step 4: Meanwhile, cook the vegetables. Heat another skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the vegetables in batches so they are in a single layer, season with salt and pepper and fry 3-4 minutes on each side until just tender and golden.
Step 5: Starting with the tomatoes, arrange 3 slices of tomato and 2 slices of zucchini and eggplant, alternately and just overlapping, in the middle of each of four plates.
Step 6: Carve the lamb into thick slices on the diagonal and arrange on top of the vegetables. Spoon the Sauce Vierge (see below) over the lamb and around the plates and serve.
Step 1: Put the oil in a small saucepan and briefly warm it over low heat about 30 seconds. Add the shallot and cook 2 minutes.
Step 2: Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tomato, lime juice and balsamic vinegar. Just before serving, add the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy warm drizzled over roast lamb.