When cooking lamb chops, I have always found myself torn between getting the meat around the bone as crispy as I like it whilst keeping the loin meat nice and pink.
And so it was whilst contemplating a rack of chops at the butcher recently that I decided to separate matters by getting him to chop off the bone of the rack close to the loin, giving me a strip of ribs, and then simply removing the loin from the bone to give me a nice fillet with skin on top.
Explaining this to the butcher, especially if your Portuguese is not so good, is not easy. In fact, he looked at me as though I was quite mad, but I explained that the ribs are entrecosto – just like pork spare ribs – and he seemed to get the gist.
The rest is easy. The ribs should be roasted low and slow and the loin meat fast and high.
For the ribs, as an alternative to the obvious flavourings of rosemary and garlic, exotic flavourings work particularly well. Try a Chinese rub of ginger, star anise garlic and soy. Or Indian spices perhaps – the possibilities are endless.
Roast covered at around 120ºC for three hours or so to render out most of the fat, then simply crisp off the rack of ribs under the grill or on the barbecue and section them to serve just as you would with normal spare ribs.
As for the loin, rub with your flavourings and pan fry for a few minutes, then give them a quick roast – 10 minutes at 200ºC and 10 minutes resting, loosely wrapped in foil, will have them nice and pink and beautifully moist.
By PATRICK STUART [email protected]