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Spring Main: Lamb Rump, Herbed Gnocchi and Salsa Verde

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Spring Main: Lamb Rump, Herbed Gnocchi and Salsa Verde

Take your traditional lamb and potato dish up a notch with this treat of a dish. Lamb rump may be a lesser known cut of meat, but is delicious and full of flavour. The accompaniment of gnocchi brings the perfect combination of comfort and herby freshness, with the perfect balance of a crispy exterior and a pillowy soft centre. Arguably the star of the show and completing this dish is the zingy salsa verde, adding brightness to your plate and packing a powerful flavour punch.

Chef's tips:

- To save time, you can make both the gnocchi and salsa verde up to 24 hours ahead of time. If making the gnocchi ahead of time, store in the fridge and take out 30 minutes before cooking them.

- You could also brown the lamb 1-2 hours ahead of time and leave it out until you're ready to cook it.

- Any leftover salsa verde makes a great addition to some steamed new potatoes.

Leiths recommended wine pairings for this dish:

Premium: Bandol Domaine Tempier, Provence, France 2018 (Lea & Sandeman £36.95)

Great value: Sainsbury’s Primitivo, Taste the Difference, Salento, Puglia, Italy (Sainsbury’s £6)

Not your usual suspect: Syrah du Maroc 'Tandem' Alain Graillot et Thalvin, Morocco 2018 (The Wine Society £13.50)

Spring starter: Warm Asparagus and Artichoke Salad
Spring dessert: Individual Lemon, Raspberry & Elderflower trifles


Serves 6

For the potato gnocchi
600g potatoes, washed (1.4kg raw weight -ideally Désirée)
130g ‘00’ flour
2 egg yolks
Parmesan, grated (to taste)
Flat leaf parsley – small bunch finely chopped
Chervil – small bunch finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for cooking

For the salsa verde
30ml sherry vinegar
3 tbsp of capers, in brine
Large handful flat leaf parsley, leaves only
Large handful fresh mint, leaves only
4½ anchovy fillets
1½ tsp Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
150ml extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 x lamb rump pieces (approx 225-250g each)


For the potato gnocchi

  1. Heat the oven to Gas 6/200ºC/400ºF. Bake the potatoes for 1-1½ hours, or until soft through.
  2. When cooked, cut the potatoes in half, scoop the potato from the skin and mash using a ricer or push through a sieve using a wooden spoon. While the potato is still warm, add the flour, egg yolks, parmesan, chopped herbs, and salt and pepper. Bring together to form a soft dough, trying not to overwork the mixture.
  3. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
  4. Roll small amounts of the dough into long cylinders 1.5 to 2cm thick (½ to ¾ inch), then cut into small pieces approx. 1.5cm long.
  5. Carefully lift the shaped gnocchi into the boiling water. Allow them to rise to the surface and then cook for a further 20-30 seconds, before removing and placing on a well-oiled tray.
  6. Allow the gnocchi to cool and then refrigerate to allow them to firm up. This can be done up to 24 hours in advance.

For the salsa verde

  1. Blend all ingredients together in a liquidizer/blender starting with ⅔ of the lemon juice and ⅔ of the oil.
  2. Adjust the seasoning and the acidity to taste. Add more oil until you have the desired consistency.

To cook the lamb

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
  2. Score the fat on the lamb rumps in a criss cross fashion carefully without cutting into the flesh.
  3. In a non-stick frying pan, add a little olive oil and place the pan over a low to medium heat. Place the lamb rumps skin side down in the pan and cook until the fat has rendered down and the skin has crisped up and coloured to a deep golden brown. Pour the excess fat out of the pan.
  4. Season the flesh side of the rump and fry that side until just browned (sear) then place on a small baking sheet and place into the oven.
  5. Roast for 10-12 minutes or until the lamb is cooked to your taste. To test the lamb, insert a skewer into the thickest part and leave for 10 seconds, then withdraw the skewer and check the temperature of the skewer against the inside of your wrist. For pink lamb, the skewer should feel warm to hot.
  6. Leave the lamb to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

To cook the gnocchi

  1. Heat a little oil in a sauté pan and add the gnocchi. Sauté until lightly coloured top and bottom. Remove and set aside in a very low oven. (Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in batches as it is important not to overcrowd the pan).

To assemble

  1. Carve the lamb into 4-5 slices depending on the size of the rump. Place the lamb in the centre of the plate and scatter some gnocchi around it. Drizzle the salsa verde over the lamb. Any leftover gnocchi and salsa verde can be served separately to accompany the dish.

Author: Louise Kissane

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