slow-roasted lamb with sassoun and roasted pumpkin salad
i can’t quite believe april is almost here. however, it does make (very clichéd) sense of the very strong cravings that i’ve been having for lamb.
i have a leg of lamb in the freezer which will make an appearance over easter but in the meantime i’ve returned to an old favourite – slow cooked neck of lamb. neck is a good value cut and if it is cooked long and slow it becomes meltingly tender.
i put the lamb, sliced onions and garlic into a foil parcel with rosemary, preserved lemon and a glug of white wine and then cooked it as noted here. this was served with roasted pumpkin and feta (pumpkin is tossed with olive oil, chilli flakes, salt & pepper before cooking, crumbled feta added for the final 10 mins of cooking) and sassoun.
i read about sassoun in a recent copy of cuisine and was instantly reminded of agresto, a zingy walnut-based paste which i love. sassoun uses almonds in place of walnuts, and mixes them with anchovies, herbs, fennel and olive oil. it works wonderfully with lamb and i will definitely make this again but with one change from the original recipe – i’ll add some lemon zest, and possibly a bit of lemon juice, to lift the flavours so they are even more spring-like.
sassoun* (serves 6-8)
75g roasted almonds (i used flaked almonds which i toasted in a dry pan)
8 anchovy fillets
½ a teaspoon toasted fennel seeds (pestled to a rough powder)
3-4 handfuls mint leaves
1 handful flat leaf parsley leaves
zest of a lemon
3 tablespoons water
125ml olive oil
put everything except the oil into a food processor. blitz to make a coarse paste. add the soil gradually, processing until it is incorporated. season to taste.
* based on a recipe by peta mathias, via cuisine magazine