Friday, 10 April 2009

Spring lamb for Easter

Signs are beginning to appear in butchers’ windows in the south for the first of this year’s spring lamb. British raised lamb is only available fresh from about now until November.

New season’s lamb is traditionally associated with Easter and, if it’s had a spell hanging, has a tender texture, rosy pink hue and white crumbly fat. At this time of year, it is likely to have been reared indoors on its mother’s milk and supplementary feed with possibly some grazing on lowland grasses. By late May onwards if the animal is fed on lush pastures it will develop a deeper, juicy-sweet flavour that is enhanced by grilling.

It is said that the accompaniment to roast or grilled lamb should be based on the lamb’s natural diet. Hence young lamb goes well with baby spinach, watercress and mint, which are all plants that grow at a low level around streams. However, fennel, marinated artichoke hearts and roasted cherry tomatoes work well, too.

A bottle of Santa Julia Fuzion shiraz malbec (£4.49; Somerfield), from Argentina, is a good-value match for roast lamb with its dark fruits’ fragrance and peppery notes.


Anonymous said...

I haven't heard that before about pairing the accompaniments with the diet but it makes a lot of sense. I'm yet to have any spring lamb yet but I can't wait.

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