Lamb chops with celeriac and anchovy salad
- February 2004
- 2 lemons
- 1 smallish celeriac
- 150g anchovy fillets in oil, drained
- 1 tbsp capers
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped (or, failing that, 1/2 tsp black pepper)
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
- 350ml olive oil
- 8 small lamb loin chops
- 2 bunches of watercress, washed and trimmed off the thick part of the stalk (or use one of those handy supermarket bags)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- First, deal with the celeriac. It discolours once peeled, so squeeze the juice of a lemon into about two litres of water to plunge it into as you go. The easiest way to peel celeriac is to cut off the rooty bit at the base, then using that flat surface, cut it into quarters from top to bottom. Peel the quarters with a paring knife. Cut the celeriac into julienne (or very fine strips). If you have a food processor the strips will be as fine as vermicelli, which looks great. Return the cut vegetable to the lemony water.
- Start the dressing. A food processor is ideal for this. Blitz together the anchovies, capers, garlic, chilli, mustard and vinegar to form a paste, then start to add the oil, slowly. You will end up with a stiff, mayonnaise-type sauce. There is an outside chance that it will split and become more like vinaigrette but it will still taste good.
- Drain the celeriac. Add two large tablespoons of the dressing and fold the ingredients together as you would for a coleslaw. Check the taste and add more of the dressing if you want, or put the rest on the table for people to dollop on their plates.
- Grill the lamb chops for 5 minutes on either side, then let them rest for 5 minutes before serving. This should leave them slightly pink. Cook for longer if you want them well done.
- Toss the watercress with the juice of half a lemon, the extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Use to garnish the lamb and celeriac, or leave on the table in a large bowl.
A grilled leg of chicken – with crispy skin – would be just as good. The dressing keeps well in the fridge for about three weeks.
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