Roast Lamb with Lemon Crust and Damson Jus, Pan-Fried Grapes and Almonds

, from Issue #63. November, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Roast Lamb with Lemon Crust and Damson Jus, Pan-Fried Grapes and Almonds

Here’s a family meal for those wanting more than just a roast, but with much-loved elements such as lamb, minted peas and crunchy potatoes.

Serves: 6


Potato rosti
500 grams evenly-sized red-skinned or Agria potatoes, scrubbed
1½ teaspoons sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons butter 
Peas with pancetta
500 grams frozen baby peas
100 gram piece pancetta, thickly sliced then cut into chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup chopped shallots
freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped mint
4 x 350 gram lamb pan roasts or lamb rumps
90 grams butter, melted
2 teaspoons sea salt 
freshly ground pepper
1½ tablespoons chopped rosemary
finely grated zest 1 large lemon
1 cup panko crumbs, blitzed to a fine crumb
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
⅓ cup slivered almonds
1 cup firm red grapes, halved
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
2 tablespoons damson jelly mixed with 4 tablespoons hot water 


Potatoes: Steam the potatoes until half cooked. Cool. Peel and refrigerate, preferably overnight. Grate coarsely and sprinkle with the salt. Lightly oil your hands and form into 6 flat cakes about 8cm across. Keep at room temperature for up to 2 hours.

Peas: Cook the peas in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain, then refresh in cold water. Put pancetta and oil in a medium saucepan and cook over low to medium heat for 5 minutes or until golden. Watch carefully as the pancetta can darken quickly once the oil gets hot. Add the shallots and reduce the heat. Cook gently until the shallots are tender. Add the peas, season lightly and turn the heat off. Reheat gently when required, adding the mint to serve.

Preheat oven to 200°C. 

Lamb: Remove fat and silverskin from lamb roasts. Combine the butter, salt, plenty of pepper, the rosemary and lemon zest in a bowl. Spread on top of the lamb. 

Place the crumbs on a shallow plate. Press the buttered side of the lamb into the crumbs. Spread the other side with butter and coat with crumbs. This keeps the buttery paste on the lamb and not your fingers.

Heat an ovenproof dish (just big enough to hold the roasts) over a medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter. When sizzling, add the roasts, rounded side down. Once golden, turn carefully with tongs then roast in the oven for 15-18 minutes. 

Jus: Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter and shallots and cook until golden. Add the almonds and cook until just starting to colour, stirring, then add the grapes. Cook until hot. Add the thyme, season with salt and pepper then add the damson jelly. Remove from the heat. Reheat very gently when required. 

Rosti: Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and when sizzling, add the potato cakes. Cook until golden on both sides, turning often and pressing gently to flatten just a little. If necessary, add a little more butter to keep the rosti sizzling. Sprinkle with a little sea salt.

To serve: Transfer the lamb to a chopping board, sprinkling salt on all sides as best you can. Rest for 7 minutes. Slice lamb thinly, arrange on a warm serving platter and spoon over the warm grape and almond jus. Serve immediately with potato rosti and peas with pancetta.