Lamb and couscous
( SERVES 6 )
Photo by Photography by Alex McVinnie-Maidment
This butterflied lamb is served on couscous with caponata (a Sicilian eggplant dish). It makes a great shared platter to serve when entertaining. The caponata can be made a couple of days in advance and kept covered in the fridge. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Salting the eggplant is not about removing bitterness but about breaking down the spongy texture and making sure it doesn't suck up too much oil when fried.
Lamb and couscous
- Put the lamb on a clean board and cover with a large piece of plastic wrap. Beat the lamb out vigorously with a rolling pin or meat hammer until about 3cm thick all over.
- Mix 4 tablespoons of the oil with the rosemary and garlic paste. Spread this all over each side of the lamb. Reserve while you prepare the couscous.
- Place the couscous in a large heatproof bowl. Add the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the saffron and the soaking water. Mix well. Pour enough boiling water over the couscous to just cover. Quickly cover with foil or a plate to keep the heat in and reserve, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and fluff up with a fork.
- Heat a frying pan over moderate to high heat and pan-fry the lamb about 5-6 minutes on each side until well browned and pink inside. (Fry it like a steak.) You may want to cut the lamb in half so it fits in the frying pan and you may have to fry the lamb in two batches. Remove from the heat, cover loosely with foil and rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
- Reheat the couscous in the microwave or over a saucepan of barely simmering water if it has cooled too much, but it only needs to be warm.
- Slice the lamb across the grain of the meat into 2cm thick slices. Serve the lamb on the couscous with the caponata (recipe below) on top. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
- Put the eggplant in a bowl and add the salt. Mix well. Place a few plates on top to weight it so the liquid is squeezed out and reserve 20 minutes. Rinse well under cold water, squeeze dry in handfuls.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over moderate heat and add the onion and celery. Fry gently for about 10 minutes or until the onion is soft.
- Add the tomatoes, capers, olives, sugar and vinegar. Mix well and transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl. Reserve.
- Clean the frying pan and place over moderate to high heat. Add the remaining oil and the eggplant and stir-fry until the eggplant is browned.
- Add the tomato mixture, mix well, bring to the boil and simmer 5 minutes or until thick with no watery residue. Remove from the heat, taste, season and reserve. Serves 6
More of Ray's platters to share