Roman lamb and green beans with anchovy

Roman lamb and green beans with anchovy

Taste of Australia
15 mins
Cooking time
45 mins
Stuart Scott

Anthony Puharich from Victor Churchill butcher says, ‘I love to cook lamb. This preparation requires a little extra from your butcher but will reward with a deep flavour and a great contrast in the meat.’ It is ‘Roman’ as it is named after abbacchio alla romana, an Easter treat celebrated all over Rome. Traditionally it is whole baby lamb simply flavoured with rosemary and olive oil and eaten in its entirety, with nothing wasted. So this recipe of Anthony’s makes use of the whole rib.


Quantity Ingredient
2 x 8 rib racks lamb with the breast still attached, bones untrimmed
2 garlic bulbs, peeled and smashed
1 large bunch rosemary
1 teaspoon sea salt
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
400g trimmed green beans
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
pinch sugar
freshly ground black pepper
6 anchovy fillets, halved


  1. Ask your butcher for 8 rib racks of lamb with the breast (or belly) still attached and the fat cap on. Trim some of the skin and stamp, leaving a thin layer of fat. Remove the feather-bone at the shoulder end of the rack. Leave the chine bone (the spine) in place, but ask your butcher to mark the joints with a bandsaw at thick intervals, e.g. between every second cutlet. The cut should be deep enough so you can cut through the bone after cooking. This gives a lovely, large plate of lamb and a beautiful combination of the lean meat from the loin and the richer, unctuous meat from the intercostals (between the ribs) and the belly of the lamb.
  2. Marinate the lamb in the garlic, rosemary, sea salt and half the oil overnight if possible (but for at least 4 hours).
  3. Heat a barbecue to high 20 minutes before cooking and, when ready to cook, turn down by a third. Place the lamb on the barbecue, fat side down first. Close the hood, but keep a close eye on it, checking the lamb every 5 minutes or so. Closing the hood will add a smoky flavour to the lamb, but do keep in mind that this is not a roasting recipe. You should open the hood around the halfway mark.
  4. You need to get a nice level of colour and caramelisation on the fat of the meat.
  5. Cooking fat side down first will give you time to let the fat render, and will protect the lean eye of meat, but do flip it towards the end to ensure you get a nice brown colour on both sides.
  6. Once the lamb is cooked (around 25–30 minutes), remove from the barbecue and allow to rest for around half the cooking time.
  7. Steam or boil the beans for 4–5 minutes or until just tender. Drain and cool under running cold or iced water. Pat dry with paper towel.
  8. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, sugar, remaining oil and a little salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place the beans onto a large platter. Top with the anchovy halves. Drizzle over the dressing and add some freshly ground black pepper.
  9. Cut long cutlets, using the cuts made by your butcher in the chine bone as a guide.
  10. You will end up with lovely Roman-style cutlets, then serve with the rosemary and some of the smashed garlic on the side.

Lyndey’s note

  • Leaving the bone untrimmed gives lovely long bones. You could use normal racks of lamb, but preferably not French-trimmed.


  • Although many say shiraz is the natural accompaniment to lamb, I am a fan of cabernet and cabernet blends with it. However, this lamb would go with either. Or as this dish is Italian-style, try a sangiovese.
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