Valentine Warner’s Lamb with Seaweed

To stand motionless in the surrounds of Holmen, whether in a boat, up a mountain or on the  shoreline, to observe this wild larder and understand its inhabitants means the menus write themselves. Let me explain further…

Only the other day I watched some sheep nibbling the seaweed on the shoreline. When done they turned and moved back uphill through juniper hedges. So that evening I gathered armfuls of bladderwrack and made a salt of pine needles and green juniper. Seasoning some small, pale flashed Lofoten lamb shoulders in this salt I then bound them in the seaweed and steamed them until half cooked. They were then finished in the wood fired oven with the incense like smoke from crackling juniper branches wafting over them. Served with the abundant sour wild sorrel and a gravy, the result of the steaming juices retaining the deep umami of the seaweed, it was thrilling for it’s taste, simplicity and sense of place. An everyday sort of dish for Holmen.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 small shoulder of lamb (about 2kg)
6 large echalion shallots
6 crushed juniper berries
3 tbsp of Aonori seaweed flakes
1/2 tsp Cornish sea salt flakes
350ml dry white wine
1 orange, juiced

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 190C, gas mark 5. Drop the whole shallots into the bottom of a roasting tray. Very lightly score the lamb through the fat. Lay the lamb upside down on top of the shallots and rub half the salt onto one side of it and half the seaweed flakes. Season with ground black pepper. Turn the lamb over and repeat.

2. Pour the white wine into the roasting tray under the lamb and add the juniper berries, then seal the tray with doubled over tin foil and bake for 2 hours, or until the meat is totally tender to the prod of a knife.

3. Turn the oven off and heat the grill to high (or turn the oven up to high if you don’t have a big enough grill). Pour the meat juices through a sieve into a small saucepan. Spoon off any excess fat then add the orange juice. Grill the meat fat side up until browned and crispy (about 15-20 mins) turning over to get both sides.

4. Lift the lamb onto a plate or board to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, reduce the jus until strong and rich and season. Serve the lamb with the jus, shallots and boiled potatoes coated in butter and parsley.

At the moment we are closed and hunkering down until the current pandemic blows over.

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