Lamb with saffron leeks and cockles

Matt Tebbutts elegant lamb dish would make an ideal main course for an autumn dinner party
By Matt Tebbutt
Lamb with saffron leeks and cockles
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

  • 1 handfuls cockles, removed from shell
  • plain flour, for coating
  • sunflower oil, for deep-frying
  • 8 cm long neck lamb fillet, all fat trimmed off
  • extra virgin olive oil, for frying
  • unsalted butter, for frying and finishing
  • 1 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 leek, light green and white parts only, sliced diagonally
  • 1 pinches strands saffron

Method

1. Take half the cockles and pat dry with kitchen paper. Put them into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in a small handful of flour and lightly coat each of the cockles by tossing them around in the bowl until each is lightly coated.

2. Heat the sunflower oil in a deep pan and, when it is hot, deep-fry the cockles for 20 seconds, or until they are crisp and golden on the outside. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a piece of kitchen paper and keep warm.

3. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy-based pan until hot and cook the lamb on each side until browned and slightly crisp all over but pink in the middle (about 6-8 minutes in all).

4. Remove the lamb from the pan, top with a knob of butter and the sprig of rosemary and leave to rest on a warm plate for 2 minutes.

5. Add another knob of butter and a pinch of saffron threads to the lamb pan and gently melt the butter. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper and fry over a medium heat until the leeks begin to soften. Add a splash of water if necessary to steam the leeks slightly so that they soften enough.

6. Once the leeks are ready, add the remaining uncooked cockles and heat through gently.

7. To serve, put the leeks on a warm serving plate, slice the lamb into 5 or 6 pieces and arrange them on top of the leeks. Pour over any juices from the lamb and sprinkle over the deep-fried cockles.

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