Crumbed lamb cutlets with minted yoghurt
Spring really is the best time of year for crumbed lamb, when the meat is lean but still tender. You wouldn’t want to do this with a thick fatty chop – those are better grilled. Drought conditions may affect this season’s lambs – look for cutlets that are small and lighter in colour.
8 lamb cutlets
2 stems rosemary, leaves picked
6 stems thyme, leaves picked
150g panko breadcrumbs
200ml neutral oil like canola oil, for frying
1 lemon cut in wedges to serve
1 bunch mint, leaves picked
1 garlic clove
160g plain yoghurt
2 tbsp mayonnaise
juice of 1 lemon
30ml olive oil
1. Season the lamb cutlets with salt and pepper and set aside. Finely chop the rosemary and thyme and mix them with the flour. Set up a crumbing station with the herbed flour on one tray, the beaten eggs in another and breadcrumbs in the last one. Coat the cutlets in flour, then completely coat in the egg and then completely cover the chop in breadcrumbs. Set aside until ready to cook.
2. To make the minted yoghurt, crush the mint leaves in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of coarse salt until the mint is a paste. This truly is the best and only way to achieve clean mint flavour and a green yoghurt – a blender will just chop the leaves and leave you with a bruised flavour so take the time to do this step properly. At the end, crush the garlic clove into the paste as well. Mix this with the yoghurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. This is best made ahead and allowed to sit for a few hours so the flavours combine and mellow.
3. To fry the lamb, choose a wide skillet and add about 1cm frying oil. Place the pan over medium heat. You want the oil to be hot enough that when the lamb hits the pan, it just sizzles. If it sizzles too aggressively, turn the heat off and let the oil cool a little. The key is to cook the meat to about medium while not colouring the crumbs too quickly. This should take about 3-4 minutes for each side. Remove the cutlets from the oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with flaked salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges, minted yoghurt and my farro and spring vegetable salad.