This is a very easy midweek supper for two people. If you can’t find celery you can simply use two small bulbs of fennel or a huge one. If you can’t find fennel, use a whole head of celery. But I find the mix of the two vegetables is more interesting.
If you have time, instead of simply tearing the sage leaves, make ’52 Vincent motorbike fried sage leaves.
Recipe for immediate lamb with braised translucent vegetables and haricot beans
- 2 lamb steaks, about 160g each. This meat needs to be the best quality you can find.
- 1 bulb fennel
- 6 sticks celery
- 160ml/⅔ cup dry cider
- Olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt
- 3 walnuts of butter
- 1 x 400g tin haricot beans
- 8 sage leaves, torn
- 200ml tub or ⅔ cup crème fraîche
- Smoked salt
- Lots of freshly ground Indonesian long pepper
- Take the lamb steaks out of the fridge
- Preheat the oven to 210°C
- Warm your plates
- Destring the celery, cut each stem in half vertically, and then cut into 5cm/2” lengths
- Cut off the fronds of the fennel and reserve
- Take off the tough outer layer off and slice
- Cut the lemon in half and slice the half thinly, cutting the slices in half
- Put some olive oil in a smallish roasting tin, add the translucent vegetables, the lemon, the cider, the garlic and a few grinds of pepper
- Cover with foil and put in the oven for fifteen minutes
- Meanwhile drain the beans and oil and pepper the lamb steaks
- Take the vegetables out and turn them. Add in the beans, and stir. Add a walnut of butter. Replace the foil top and put the lot back in the oven for another fifteen minutes.
- Add a little more oil to a frying pan and get it good and hot.
- Fry the steaks for two minutes, resisting the temptation to fiddle
- Turn the steaks, adding a little more oil if necessary, and topping each with a walnut of butter and half the sage leaves.
- Then zest the other half of the lemon (save the zest), and squeeze the juice over the steaks.
- After two minutes frying of the second side of the steaks put them on a chopping board, cover with foil (you can use the foil that was over the vegetables) and keep warm for about five minutes.
- When you’re ready to serve, slice the steaks diagonally.
- Distribute the vegetables, together with all the juices, between the two plates. Arrange the steak over the bed of vegetables. Garnish with the zest, the rest of the sage leaves, and any fennel fronds you have retained, some smoked salt and more freshly ground pepper.
- Serve with a bowl of crème fraîche.