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Things are generally better without breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs suggest that a/ you don’t have enough good quality ingredients (i. e. meat) and you’re trying to bulk it out, or b/ that something went horribly unsightly and you need to cover up. Plus a load of unnecessary carbs. Plus tricky to get the pan/oil/fat hot enough so the food doesn’t absorb the fat and end up greasy.
But – there’s always a ‘but’, isn’t there? The whole point of writing a preamble on a blog or weekly column, is to then contradict yourself with a ‘but’. There probably is a technical literary term for this manoeuvre, and if my extensive education hadn’t gone rusty and hole-riddled I might remember what it was.
So, returning to my ‘but’ – this is the case for breadcrumbs adding value. The general rule of thumb is that they will protect whatever you are frying from overcooking and keep it succulent (how I hate the word). Lamb rack roasted whole is easy to control – the same timings will apply as to beef, 10-20 minutes high heat blast plus 15 per pound on low. But if you want to cook individual cutlets, you want get them pink inside easily, unless breadcrumb protected.
The cutlets are dipped in just egg white, not whole egg wash, so that it’s light and only there to keep the crust in place. The herbs and additions to the crumb are free choice but Parmesan is a must.
lamb cutletsServings: 2Time: 20 minutes plus chilling
- 6-bones French-trimmed rack of lamb, for two people
- 4-5 tbsp. breadcrumbs
- a few sprigs of rosemary, needles stripped
- 25g freshly grated Parmesan
- zest grated from 2 lemons
- a few sprigs of mint
- 1 egg white
- oil and butter for frying
Trim the skin and the fat off the rack. Cut between the bones into individual cutlets.
Strip the leaves off the rosemary and chop really fine, almost to a powder. Grate lemon zest and the parmesan and whizz it with the rosemary and the breadcrumbs in a blender or food processor. You can just mix it all together in a bowl but whizzing breaks up the breadcrumbs and makes for a more uniform coating. Tip onto a shallow dish.
Beat the egg white until foamy in another shallow dish. Dip each cutlet in the egg white, then in the crumbs, coating the meat well. Place on a tray and chill for at least half an hour.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan until a breadcrumb tossed into it starts to swirl and sizzle. Fry the cutlets about 2 minutes on each side, adding a small knob of butter at the very end of the frying process. If you need to do it in batches, place a baking tray in a barely warm oven and keep the ready cutlets there until they are all done – they will actually benefit from resting a few minutes, but make sure they don't go cold.
Serve perhaps with fondant carrots and steamed broccoli.