“The aniseed flavor of fennel and the sweetness of rosemary work really well with lamb cutlets, but you could use this marinade for a whole leg of roast lamb. Sweet, roasted nectarines are a great companion to any lamb dish. I coat my nectarines (or peaches) with apple syrup, but you could use a good-quality maple syrup instead. These nectarines could also be served as a dessert with mascarpone or softly whipped cream.” — Clodagh McKenna, Clodagh’s Irish Kitchen — A Fresh Take on Traditional Flavors
- 1 Teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped, plus more to serve
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 thick lamb cutlets (about 3.5 ounces each)
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1/3 Cup plus 1 tablespoon good quality maple syrup, such as High Bank Orchard
- 2 nectarines, halved and pitted
- 1 head baby romaine lettuce, leaves separated and coarsely torn
- 1 1/2 Cup loosely packed mixed salad greens
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a skillet, dry-roast the fennel seeds over medium heat for 30 seconds, and then finely chop. Place the chopped seeds in a large bowl, along with the rosemary, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
Add the lamb cutlets to the bowl and toss to coat, then let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and syrup together over low heat and stir. Place the nectarines on the foil-lined sheet and drizzle with the syrup mixture. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until tender.
Heat a large grill pan over medium–high heat. Grill the lamb cutlets, turning once, until charred and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Just before serving, scatter with extra rosemary.
In a large bowl, combine the salad greens. In a small bowl, beat together the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and mustard to combine. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, drizzle over the salad, and then toss to coat. Serve with the lamb and sweet nectarines.