I love farmer’s markets. Browsing stalls offering all manner of fresh and handmade ingredients is my favourite way to spend a Sunday. Chatting to producers, you’ll always learn new tricks for using ingredients to get the very best from them. My favourite farmer’s market is at Alexandra Palace (Ally Pally, to the locals) in North London.
The best sausages I’ve ever tasted are sold by The Giggly Pig Company, who always have one of the prime spots at the Ally Pally market, and Mr Q and I headed there to pick some up last Sunday. Alas, perhaps because it’s still holiday season, they weren’t there. Instead, we found a butcher selling gorgeous High Meadows Welsh lamb. We picked up a rack of the most beautiful-looking lamb I’ve ever seen for just £13.00.
Bundling our rack of lamb lovingly into the car like a baby, I spent the car trip home dreaming of ways I could prepare it. Bake the entire rack in the oven with rosemary and garlic? Dry rub the cutlets with cumin and turmeric? I eventually decided that with such a lovely piece of meat, the best thing to do would be to keep it simple. Olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt and a sprinkle of dried oregano should be enough to let the flavour of the meat be the star.
Greek-style lamb cutlets with pan-fried polenta and tzatzikiFor the lamb:Rack of lamb, cut into cutlets (or buy eight trimmed cutlets)A big glug of the best olive oil you can affordThe juice of one big lemon1 tsp of dried oregano (I think the flavour is more pungent when it’s dry. Use fresh if you prefer.)Eight cloves of garlic, crushed and finely choppedFor the tzatziki:2 cups greek-style natural yogurtThe juice of half a lemon1/2 cup mint, finely chopped1/2 large cucumber, seeds removed, finely chopped2 cloves grated garlicFor the polenta:250g pre-cooked polenta (vacuum-packed), sliced into 1cm thick pieces1 tbsp olive oilPop all the lamb marinade ingredients in a large baking dish and combine. Lay the cutlets in and rub to ensure they are covered in the mixture. Marinate for as long as possible – I gave them about three hours.In the meantime, mix together the tzatziki ingredients and pop in the fridge until ready to serve. Also, throw some tomatoes, spinach, cucumber and feta together in a bowl for a side salad.Pan-fry the polenta slices in the olive oil until golden brown. Pop these in the oven on a low heat until ready to serve.Now for the lamb! Simply pan-fry the cutlets for a few minutes on each side. They should still be pink on the inside when serving for the best taste and texture. Serve the lamb cutlets with the polenta, salad and a big dollop of tzatziki.
If I was serving this for a dinner party, three lamb cutlets per person would suffice, but Mr Q and I were starving, so we had four cutlets each. Delicious with a large glass of red wine, we’ll be revisiting Ally Pally Farmer’s Market next Sunday to see what other goodies we can bring home.