Karen Martini's lamb backstrap with olive dressing, charred potatoes and figs

Lamb backstrap with charred potatoes and fresh figs.
Lamb backstrap with charred potatoes and fresh figs. Photo: William Meppem
Difficulty
Easy
Dietary
Gluten-free

Rosemary and bay leaves – with, of course, olives, garlic, lemon and lashings of good olive oil – are classic companions to lamb when it comes to Mediterranean cooking, and with good reason. This dish is full of powerful flavours but there's a lovely delicacy to the backstraps, while the addition of a little sweetness from oozingly ripe figs works a treat. And those potatoes – I won't even mention how good they are.

Ingredients

4 large Dutch cream or desiree potatoes, unpeeled

80ml extra virgin olive oil

salt flakes

4 lamb backstraps, brought to room temperature

4 large ripe figs

¼ bunch flat-leaf parsley

75g black olives, pitted

For the dressing

4 rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped and finely chopped

4 fresh bay leaves, finely chopped

1 tsp salt flakes

2 tsp black peppercorns

2 garlic cloves

zest of ½ lemon

75g black olives, pitted

80ml extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Parboil the potatoes for 10 minutes, drain well and preheat the barbecue or griddle pan on high.

2. For the dressing, grind the rosemary, bay leaves and salt using a mortar and pestle. Add the peppercorns and garlic and grind to a paste, then grind in the lemon zest and olives. You'll have a rough paste. Pour in the oil and combine.

3. Cut the potatoes into thick slices, coat with half the oil and season with salt. Turn the barbecue to medium heat and grill the slices on both sides until well marked and tender, about 8 minutes each side. Set aside near the barbecue or place in a low oven to keep warm while you cook the lamb.

4. Turn the heat back to high. Season the lamb with salt and pepper, rub with remaining oil and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Place in a dish and smother both sides with the olive and herb dressing. Rest for 5 minutes.

5. Arrange the potatoes on a serving platter. Slice each piece of lamb into five pieces across the grain, then place on top of the potatoes. Break open the figs and drop on top. Scatter over the parsley and remaining olives, then spoon over the remaining dressing. Serve immediately.