Seared lamb, beans and peas thrown together in a salad is edible spring, according to head chef at Sydney’s Banksii, Hamish Ingham.
Along with half the country, Hamish Ingham grew up eating roast lamb. “On a Sunday we definitely had a lamb shoulder or a lamb leg,” he says. “For me it’s a real Australian thing when you grow up.”
But between lamb roasts and barbequed lamb chops, his family was also keen on lamb brains. In a remarkable double bluff, Ingham’s mum used to cook lamb brains and mash them into vegetables, and call the dish “brains”.
“We used to love it but we didn’t actually know it had lambs brains in it,” says Ingham. “Introducing things to kids when they’re young, different flavours, they get used to it really quickly.” And that strategy has worked for his six-year-old and nine-year-old, who eat what mum and dad eat.
Today one of his favourite lamb dishes involves the back strap. This outrageously simple recipe uses easy-to-cook and hard-to-mess-up lean lamb back-strap fillets, seared on a raging hot pan for eight minutes. To match? As many fresh bean and pea variations as you can find. Ingham uses broad beans, sugar snap peas, green peas, and snow peas and their shoots (blanched – which only involves boiling the beans slightly and then plunging them in icy water). When two ingredients go together as well as lamb and peas, may as well milk it.
“You don’t really have to do much, you just cook the lamb and toss it all together with a yummy dressing and you’ve got a beautiful meal,” says Ingham.
This recipe also has two types of goat’s cheese – fresh curd and aged – whose contrasting textures and flavours wonderfully play off each other. Find aged, hard goat’s cheese at any deli, and shave it on top. Ingham says parmesan can be substituted, but it’s worth seeking out the goat-y one.
Spring Lamb, Broad Bean and Pea Salad
2 lamb back-strap fillets
1 cup broad beans, blanched
½ cup sugar snap peas, blanched
½ cup green peas, blanched
½ cup snow peas, blanched
1 cup snow-pea shoots
100g aged goat’s cheese, shaved
100g goat’s curd
1 bunch mint, leaves picked
1 lemon, juiced
80ml extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Season lamb fillets with salt and pepper then sear in a hot pan for four minutes on each side or until pink. Set aside to rest for five minutes then slice each fillet on the diagonal.
In a small bowl whisk the lemon juice and olive oil until combined. In a separate bowl combine the broad beans, sugar snap peas, green peas, snow peas and snow-pea shoots and season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over the top and toss to combine.
Divide and spoon the goat’s curd evenly across four bowls. Place generous handful of salad on top of the goat’s curd and top with five slices of lamb on each plate. Garnish with shaved aged goat’s cheese and garlic flowers; serve immediately.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Australian Lamb.