Currently we are going through a rare London heatwave in April. My manager even bought me my first ice cream of the year today. Dark Chocolate with Caramel - in case you are interested. Still I could not resist sharing this hazelnut-crusted lamb recipe with you.
I love cooking and baking with hazelnut, mainly because I have this very annoying allergy, that causes my face to swell up when I eat raw hazelnuts. Ground hazelnuts are not that common in UK supermarkets; but you will find them in German supermarkets quite easily.
So they were readily available when I spent Easter in Germany. When my mum told me to find a recipe for those lamb loin fillets she picked up from the market that day - I immediately thought: "How can I combine hazelnuts and lamb?"
Thankfully those two flavours go beautifully together. I love the combination of the juiciness and tenderness that you get from a good lamb fillet, and the crunchy, nutty - almost sweet flavour of the hazelnut.
Combining this lamb dish with a sherry - balsamic sauce made this dish even more interesting. Eating this lamb was almost like a journey itself, trying to distinguish the different flavours from another; while allowing the combined tastes to unfold in your mouth.
Although this dish is quite simple to prepare it felt like a labyrinth of flavours once I put it in my mouth. We served this dish on Easter Sunday and it was a hit. It went well with some green beans and boiled salted potatoes.
Lamb Loin Fillets with a Hazelnut Crust and a Sherry Sauce
For the lamb
- 150 g onions cubed
- 50 g butter
- 4 table spoons olive oil
- 3 table spoons thyme leaves or dried thyme
- 50 g breadcrumbs
- 35 g ground hazelnuts
- 2 table spoons fresh chopped parsley
- 4 lamb loin fillets about 200 g each
For the Sherry sauce
- 2 table spoons Aceto balsamico
- 125 ml medium Sherry
- 200 ml chicken stock
- 2 table spoons cornflour
- Heat 20 g of butter and 2 table spoons of olive oil in a large pan and fry the onions on a medium heat until golden brown. Add the thyme leaves and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Remove the onions and set aside in a bowl to cool. Add the remaining butter, breadcrumbs, hazelnuts and parsley and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
- Season the lamb filets with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan and fry the meat on a high heat from all sides to seal it. Place the meat in a flat oven proof dish. Spread the hazelnut mixture on top.
- Place the lamb in a preheated oven for about 210 degrees Celsius. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
For the Sauce
- While the lamb is in the oven add the Balsamico and Sherry into a saucepan and bring to boil. Add the chickenstock and boil for 2 minutes. Now mix in the 2 table spoons of corn flour with a whisk. You can add more corn flour if you prefer a thicker consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
- Before serving drizzle the sauce over the lamb. Serve with potatoes and green vegetables.