Nigel Slater’s roast lamb with anchovy butter recipe

A smart yet simple way to cook lamb

The recipe

Season a 350g lamb neck fillet with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a shallow pan over a high heat, then lower in the lamb. Let the meat colour on the underside, then turn and brown the other sides.

Remove the pan from the heat, cover it with a lid and leave it to rest for 20 minutes. Bring a pan of water to the boil. Wash and trim 140g of rainbow chard. When the water is boiling, lower in the chard and cook briefly, for 2 or 3 minutes, then remove the leaves and plunge them into iced water.

In a small pan, melt 70g of butter. Chop 4 anchovy fillets finely, then add them to the butter. Chop 2 tbsp of lemon

thyme leaves, then add them to the butter. Warm the butter, then drain the chard and add it to the pan, turning the leaves over in the anchovy butter. Lift the leaves out on to 2 warm plates. Roll the lamb in any butter that remains in the pan then cut it into 8 thick slices. Serve with the chard, adding a little more salt and pepper should you wish. Enough to serve 2.

The trick

Browned and adequately rested, the lamb here will be rare and perfectly pink. Should you like it a little more well done, then leave it in the pan with the heat lowered a notch or two, for a further 5 minutes. The browning should be both thorough and even. I like mine a little charred here and there as a contrast to the pink interior.

The twist

Rosemary leaves, finely chopped, make a perfect seasoning for the lamb. Include them instead of, or as well as, the thyme. A little garlic, a single, juicy clove sliced as thin as paper, can be lightly cooked in the butter before adding the herbs.

Email Nigel at or follow him on Twitter @NigelSlater

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