LAMB CUTLETS WITH MINT, CHILLI & GOLDEN POTATOES
If you put halved baby potatoes on to steam before you get started on the lamb chops, you can fairly effortlessly rely on a proper meat-and-potato supper in around 20 minutes (plus a little marinating time). Steaming the potatoes is, for me, an important stipulation: a steamed spud is a sweet spud; more than that, cooked this way, rather by boiling, the potatoes are dry when done, which makes them easy to fry to crisp bronzedness, without spitting, later. It's important, though, that you don't fill your pot with too much water first. If new potatoes aren’t around, then use a couple of baking potatoes, cut into 1cm / ½-inch dice. Steaming here would be obligatory rather than merely desirable, as the potato chunks would dissolve into mush in boiling water.
- 500 grams baby new potatoes (halved but not peeled)
- 3 x 15ml tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- 8 lamb chop cutlets (French trimmed)
- 100 grams rocket (to serve, optional)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes or ½ teaspoon pouring salt, or to taste
- 1 x 15ml tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 x 15ml tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- Put the halved baby potatoes on to steam.
- Get out a large dish - in which the lamb cutlets will fit in a single layer - and first pour into it the olive oil and sprinkle in the chilli flakes, dried mint and celery salt.
- Using 1 lamb cutlet as if it were a wooden spoon, smoosh the oil with its sprinkling around a bit, so that it is rather better mixed, then place the lamb cutlets in a single layer, turn them instantly and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
- Heat a large, heavy-based, non-stick frying pan - big enough (about 28cm / 11in diameter) for all the cutlets to fit in - then duly place them all in it (the oil that clings to them from the marinade is plenty enough for them to fry in) and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes. While the cutlets cook, check that the potatoes are tender, which they should be by now; in which case, turn the heat off under your steamer, pour off the water and let the potatoes stand, drying, while they wait.
- Using tongs (for ease), turn the cutlets over and cook for a further 3 minutes. If you are going to make this an entire one-plate meal, strew the bottom of a large serving platter with rocket, or any other leafage you desire, and when the lamb cutlets are cooked, but still juicy pink, remove them to the salad-lined (or, indeed, naked) plate. Obviously, cook for longer if you like your lamb well done.
- Tip the steamed potatoes into the pan and fry for 3 minutes, then turn them over and fry for another 3 minutes, shaking the pan every now and again to make them tumble and turn in the hot, spiced fat.
- Using a slotted spatula or similar, transfer the potatoes to the plate of cutlets and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sea salt flakes (I like these plenty salty, but if you have more austere tastes or are feeding small children, then decrease the salt or ignore the command altogether) along with the chopped parsley and mint.