Grilled rump of lamb with asparagus and a salsa verde of lovage

Grilled rump of lamb with asparagus and a salsa verde of lovage

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

The vast and wild lovage plant that looms over one corner of our vegetable garden seems to grow taller every day, no matter how much we cut it down to use in the kitchen. To me, lovage has a strong and very English taste – like peppery celery. It is good used sparingly in soups and salads, or as here, coarsely chopped in a green sauce to be spooned over grilled lamb. Be aware though that its flavour can easily be overpowering. This is a nice dish to eat outdoors on a warm spring day.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 rumps lamb, trimmed of most fat
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, to oil
20 asparagus spears
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Salsa verde

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon good-quality capers, packed in salt, well rinsed
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
12 lovage leaves
bunch flat leaf parsley
handful rocket leaves
200ml extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Lay the rumps of lamb on a board and season well all over with 11/2 tbsp salt. It sounds like a lot of salt, but do use it all. Cover the lamb and leave to sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours, but up to 3 days is good. This will tenderise the meat and give it a wonderful seasoned flavour right to its very core.
  2. Remove the meat from the fridge an hour before cooking, to allow it to return to room temperature. Brush off any excess salt.
  3. Meanwhile, make the sauce, preferably by hand. Roughly chop the capers and place them in a bowl with the crushed garlic, mustard and wine vinegar. Wash the lovage, parsley and rocket, pat dry and chop fairly onely, ensuring that there is still plenty of texture. Add to the bowl with a pinch of salt and some pepper. Pour over the extra virgin olive oil and stir well to combine. Set aside.
  4. When ready to cook, heat up your barbecue or grill. When it is really hot, rub the meat all over with olive oil. Grill or barbecue for just 4 minutes on one side without turning, then turn and cook for a further 4 minutes on the other side. The meat should have a lovely dark crust. Set aside to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the asparagus. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to the boil. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus, and peel the lower part of the stalks. When the water is boiling vigorously, drop in the asparagus and cook for 11/2 minutes or until it is just tender to the bite. Drain and dress with the extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Slice each lamb rump into 3 slices on the diagonal. Divide the asparagus among warm serving plates, lay the lamb on top and spoon over the salsa verde. Serve while still warm.
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