Barbecued or grilled, lamb cutlets are fantastic with a classic mint sauce and lots of seasonal greens.
At this time of year, nothing is better than peas and asparagus with fresh mint.
If you're making the mint sauce, remember - you'll need to prepare it a day in advance.
BARBECUED LAMB CUTLETS WITH MINT SAUCE
12 lamb cutlets
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
3 large granny smith apples, quartered,
cores and stems removed
about 1 cup mint leaves
1 cup white wine vinegar
21/2 cups caster sugar
To make the mint sauce, place the apples and 250ml water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until softened. Place the mint and vinegar in a blender and blend until finely chopped. Add to the apples and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and set aside for 2 hours to allow flavours to infuse. Place apple and mint mixture into a fine sieve and sit it in a suitable bowl. Cover, place in the refrigerator and allow the juice to filter through overnight.
The next day, measure out 500ml of the juice and place in a saucepan over high heat. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes, skimming the scum from the surface regularly. Once sauce has reduced and thickened, remove from heat and cool.
Preheat barbecue grill plate over a high heat.
Lightly brush cutlets in olive oil and season to taste. Place on grill, cook for 3-4 minutes each side, then set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve cutlets on a bed of boiled peas and blanched asparagus, with mint leaves scattered over and mint sauce on the side.
• For a great party canape, brush the lamb cutlets with the mint sauce and serve on a large platter.
MELTING MOMENTS WITH PASSIONFRUIT BUTTER
150g soft butter, diced
75g caster sugar
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
200g plain flour
50g rice flour
icing sugar, to dust
30g butter, softened
150g icing sugar
20ml passionfruit pulp (about 1 passionfruit)
Makes 18 filled biscuits
Preheat oven to 180°C.
In a mixer, beat the butter, sugar and lemon rind until light and fluffy. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flours until combined. Knead mix gently on a floured surface until smooth, and then cover in cling film and allow to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Divide mixture into 36, roll into balls and place on a greased baking tray. Flatten the balls with the back of a fork. Bake for 12-16 minutes, or until crisp and light golden. Stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
To make filling, beat butter with a wooden spoon until pale and creamy. Add half the icing sugar and beat until well combined. Add the passionfruit pulp and the remaining icing sugar and beat until well combined and fluffy.
Spread passionfruit butter onto half the biscuits, using a palate knife or piping bag with a 1cm nozzle. Top with remaining biscuits, and dust with icing sugar.
• The passionfruit butter with the melting moments is seriously good - spread some on toast for breakfast and enjoy with a nice cup of tea.
SOMETHING TO DRINK
Match the lamb cutlets with Joseph Sparkling Red NV ($70) from McLaren Vale, SA. Its opulent bouquet of ripe plum, black cherry and liquorice spice lead to a succulent, well-balanced palate.
Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Kirsten Jenkins.