Lamb cutlets are at their best in the spring - try this recipe for a griddled version with smoky romesco made from roasted red peppers.
For the lamb:
12-18 medium lamb cutlets
Juice of 1 lemon
For the romesco:
300g cherry tomatoes
1 large red romano pepper, deseeded, cut into 5cm pieces
6 cloves garlic, peeled
5tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2tsp sweet smoked paprika
45g dense white or brown bread (ciabatta, sourdough or country-style loaf), torn
2-3tsp red-wine vinegar
For the spring onions:
3 bunches jumbo salad onions (approximately 12), halved lengthways, or 6 bunches small spring onions
2 lemons, halved
2tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Making a true romesco is a little laborious: this is my quick and every-bit-as-good version. The smoky red sauce also goes well with seafood, especially prawns or grilled white fish. I sometimes serve it as a dip, with grissini and raw fennel. La Chinata makes an excellent sweet smoked paprika, which I use in place of the traditional dried nora peppers. It is available from Brindisa, Ocado or good delis.
For the lamb, toss the cutlets in the lemon juice, olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside at room temperature while you make the romesco.
Heat the oven to 220˚C/fan oven 200˚C/mark 7. Mix the tomatoes, pepper, garlic and olive oil with some salt in a roasting tray. Roast for 10 minutes, then remove the garlic when it is soft and golden. Continue to roast the tomatoes and pepper for a further 5 minutes, then stir in the paprika and bread. Spread the nuts on a separate baking tray and put both trays in the oven for 5-10 minutes until toasted.
Scrape all of the ingredients into a food processor, along with juices from the roasting tray. Add back the roasted garlic, with 2tsp red-wine vinegar and 1tbsp boiling water, and blitz to a rough paste. Add more boiling water if needed to give the consistency of a thick pesto. Add more vinegar and salt to taste.
For the spring onions, heat a large griddle pan until hot. Toss the spring onions and lemons in the oil with a pinch of salt and griddle for 2-3 minutes, or until charred in places on both sides and soft (a little longer for jumbo salad onions). Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm in a low oven.
Cook the cutlets on the griddle for 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked but a little pink. If you need to cook in batches, cover with foil and keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest. Squeeze the charred lemons over the lamb, then serve with the spring onions and romesco alongside.
Recipe by Caroline Barty.
This originally appeared on House & Garden UK.