This is a dish that, at first glance, you might think would not be worth the effort. But because half the cooking and preparation is done the day before, there is not much messing around when it comes to serving the lamb. Up here in Scotland lamb breast can be found in every butcher and supermarket. The canny Scots know a bargain when they see it. It is nearly always ready-boned and rolled but if you can only get the whole breast you can cook it flat in a deep roasting tin- bone in-and simply lift off the bones after boiling the meat. It is imperative to weigh down the lamb and leave it to firm up or the lamb fingers will fall apart when you try to fry them.
- For the sauce
- 99g jar nonpareil capers, drained
- 40g pitted green olives
- 6 fillets anchovies in oil, drained
- 20g fresh mint leaves
- 100ml extra-virgin olive oil
- For the crispy lamb breast
- 2 boned, rolled lamb breasts
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
- 1 stick celery
- 1 carrot, cut in half
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 115g panko breadcrumbs
- Oil for shallow frying
- Start the day before you want to eat the lamb. For the sauce, put all the sauce ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor and blend to a coarse purée. Scrape into a bowl, cover and chill until you are ready to serve the lamb.
- Put the lamb breasts in a large casserole and cover with cold water. Add the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer gently for 2 ½ hours. Turn off the heat and leave the lamb in the water for one hour.
- Lift the lamb out of the water and put the meat in a roasting tin, lined with non-stick baking parchment. Cut the strings around the meat and lay the breasts flat. Place another sheet of parchment over the breasts and weigh down with a smaller tin. Put some heavy weights on top and leave in the fridge overnight.
- The next day remove the weights and put the flattened breasts on a chopping board. Cut into chunky fingers. Brush each finger all over with the mustard. Put the beaten egg in a shallow dish and the panko in a separate dish or small roasting tin. Dip each finger into the beaten egg followed by the panko crumbs and roll the fingers around to coat evenly in the crumbs.
- Heat the oven to 180˚c, fan oven 160˚c, mark 4. Heat the oil in a frying pan, about 1 ½ -2cm depth. Carefully lower about 6 fingers into the hot oil and fry for about 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Turn over and fry for a further 1-2 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and place on a baking tray. Repeat for the remaining lamb fingers. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes and serve with the olive, caper and mint sauce