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These lamb cutlets are best cooked on a hot barbecue with wood or charcoal, to give you a wonderful smoky flavour. Otherwise use a preheated ridged griddle pan. Slap the cutlets with the heel of your hand to flatten them slightly. Then bash up your thyme in a pestle and mortar and add a little olive oil. Mix together, then rub the oil over the cutlets and season both sides of them. Put to one side.
Cook the mushrooms dry on the bars of your hot griddle pan. This is quite an unusual way to do it, but it gives you a nutty flavour that you wouldn’t get otherwise. Just grill them on both sides to mark them and put them into a large bowl. Once the mushrooms are done you can put the lamb on the barbecue or griddle pan. If the cutlets are about 1.5cm thick, just give them 3 or 4 minutes on each side until they’re really golden. This should cook them medium. (To be honest, I’m not really into rare lamb cutlets, but if you prefer them like that then cook for a little less time.)
When cooked, put the lamb cutlets into the bowl with the mushrooms and drizzle with a little olive oil. Tear over the parsley, in quite large pieces, and add a good squeeze of lemon juice. Season lightly and toss around. Place to one side to rest, to allow all the lovely juices to get sucked up by the mushrooms.
Meanwhile you can make a really quick sauce. It looks a bit like pesto, but although it contains basil and pine nuts it has no similarity in flavour. In a pestle and mortar pound up the pine nuts until you have a mushy pulp – this will give the sauce a creamy flavour and texture. Remove the mixture to a bowl, then use the pestle and mortar to bash the basil up into a pulp. Add this to the pine nuts and loosen with extra virgin olive oil so that the sauce easily drops off the end of a spoon.
Now you need to balance it with quite a lot of balsamic vinegar to give it a good zing, almost like a mint sauce, but add it to taste. Give the lamb and mushrooms a final toss. I like to serve this up on a big platter and let everyone help themselves. Have the sauce and a simple watercress salad on the side.
Use either wild mushrooms that are in season, like girolles, trompettes de la mort and pieds de mouton, or more readily available farmed mushrooms like field, chestnut or oyster, as these are really tasty when cooked properly.