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Lamb with Anchovy and Rosemary

by Julius Roberts from The Farm Table

As seen on Saturday Kitchen, Julius Roberts' roast rack of lamb with anchovy and rosemary sauce is served on a bed of beans braised with Swiss chard.

From the book

Julius Roberts


This anchovy and rosemary sauce became a bit of an obsession of mine this year. It’s incredibly simple to make, rich with anchovy and lifted by the zing from the rosemary and lemon. Great on grilled chicken thighs or roasted radicchio (or any veg for that matter), but utter heaven against the fattiness of lamb. Swiss chard is one of the easiest thing to grow, and though I plant it every year, I never quite knew what to do with it. This autumn, I went to a neighbour’s for lunch and one of the things he served was boiled Swiss chard with nothing but salt and a drizzle of olive oil. I understood it then, finally awaking to the simple joy in the pleasing crunch of the stalks and mineral-rich leaves dressed in peppery olive oil. And ever since, the chard in my garden has been picked bare. I’ll be planting double the amount next year and, if you have a veg patch, I encourage you to do the same. If you can’t find it, cavolo nero, kale and spinach are great replacements for this recipe.

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1 rack of lamb
450g Swiss chard
3 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
1 x 700g jar white beans (or 2 x 400g tins - I like to use 1 cannellini and 1 butter bean)
1 lemon
For the rosemary and anchovy sauce:
3 sprigs of rosemary
12 salted anchovies (about 1 tin)
60ml olive oil
juice of ½ lemon

Essential kit

You will need a high-speed blender.


Sprinkle the lamb generously with salt and leave on a plate to come to room temperature. To make the rosemary and anchovy sauce, put the rosemary leaves, anchovies and olive oil into a high-speed blender and blitz until smooth. Taste, then add a squeeze of lemon, blitz again and have another taste – keep adjusting until you get the balance right. I usually find it wants about half a lemon, but once I did just that and it turned out to be a really strong lemon and ruined the sauce. A great lesson, I had to double the batch just to mellow out the acidity. So add slowly, tasting as you go.

When the salt has penetrated the lamb, preheat your oven to 180°C fan. Get a large frying pan hot and place the lamb skin side down. Fry slowly until the fat renders and becomes crisp and caramelised – you want a deep brown colour. Turn over and briefly brown the other side, then place on a rack in the oven. For lamb that’s pink

in the middle, cook until the centre of the meat is 50°C, then remove and leave to rest for 15 minutes with a bit of foil on top. By the time the lamb has rested, the internal temperature will have increased to 55°C, which is perfect. If you don’t have a temperature probe, prod the middle of the meat – if it’s still squishy it’s not quite ready. You’re looking for medium-firm but with some give, much like a steak. If it’s completely firm, I’m afraid you’ve gone too far.

While the lamb is cooking, separate the chard leaves from the stalks. Roughly cut the stalks and tear the leaves into smaller pieces. Finely slice the garlic. Put a heavy-based pan on a medium heat, drizzle in the olive oil and once warm add the garlic. Gently sizzle to infuse the oil, then pour in the beans (with their liquid if using jarred – drain and rinse if using tinned), season and bring up to a simmer. If using jarred beans (my preference here), all that’s needed is to bring them up to a simmer, as they are already soft and ready to go. You may need to add a splash or two of water if there isn’t enough liquid. I find tins need about 30 minutes of extra cooking to make them tender, so if using tins, add a tin’s worth of water and gently simmer with the lid on until the beans are soft. I sometimes squish a few of them with a potato masher just to thicken the sauce if it needs it.

Grate in the lemon zest, then stir through the chard stalks and make sure there is enough liquid to cover them. Gently simmer until the stalks are tender, about 3–5 minutes, then add the leaves and mix them through – they will take no time at all to cook. Turn the heat off and squeeze in a splash of lemon juice, then grind in some pepper and mix well.

Have a taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Carve up the lamb – hopefully it should be beautifully pink – add a generous scoop of beans to each plate, then top with the lamb and finish with the rosemary and anchovy sauce.

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From the book: The Farm Table

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