Two lamb backstraps are incredibly generous for two people, but once you taste this dish you will thank me (as well as for leftovers) – it's one super sexy combination of flavours. Serve this fragrant, fruity dish with a nice drop of red – any medium-bodied red will do. You’re welcome.
- splash of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to rub
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 8 dates, pitted, chopped
- 10 dried apricots, chopped
- good pinch of salt flakes, plus extra to season
- good pinch of pul biber, plus extra to season (see note)
- splash of verjuice
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- ½ whole nutmeg, grated
- 2 x (500 g) lamb backstraps
- 60 g butter
Almond and tomato salad
- 2 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
- 3 sprigs mint, leaves picked
- splash of extra virgin olive oil
- salt flakes and freshly cracked pepper, to season
- handful of feta, roughly broken
- handful of toasted almonds, roughly chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 10 minutes
To make the stuffing, heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, dates and apricots, and stir to combine. Add the salt and pul biber, then deglaze with the verjuice. Add the pomegranate molasses and nutmeg, and cook for 1–2 minutes or until the liquid is evaporated. Set aside to cool.
Slice into the lamb lengthwise to form a pocket, taking care not to go all the way through. Fill the pockets with the stuffing and then tie with kitchen string to secure filling. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Rub the lamb with the extra oil and season with the salt and pul biber. Cook the lamb for 4 minutes each side or until browned. Add the butter to the pan and cook, resting lamb up against the frypan to help brown, for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side or until medium. Transfer to a plate and rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the salad, combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
Remove the kitchen string and carve the lamb into thick slices. Serve with the salad.
• Pul biber is a made from dried Aleppo pepper, which is part of the capsicum family. You can find it in most Mediterranean food shops. Substitute with dried chilli flakes.
Recipe from Cle-ann by Cle-ann Stampolidis, with photography by Hugh Adams.
View our interview with Cle-ann and find more recipes from her blog here.