Even though I enjoy cooking, sometimes after a busy day at work, it can be too easy or tempting to succumb to picking up takeaway on the way home. Especially as I have so many great restaurants (Indian, Italian, Japanese and many more) within five minutes of my house. Alternately, I fall back on a few tried and tested favourite recipes, which if cooked too often will no longer be favourites. So finding new quick and easy recipes that I can add to my repertoire and save the takeaway for an occasional treat is something I am actively trying to do.

The other day I was looking through a new cooking magazine and I came across a warm beef and salsa verde salad that sparked my interest. It looked like a great spring dinner, but although I liked the look of it and the idea, I didn’t feel like beef so I went with lamb instead. Then because I was cooking with lamb, I thought mint would be a great addition to the salsa verde rather than just the parsley they used. And how about some basil as well given I’m adding tomatoes to the salad, and some lemon to freshen it up? Next thing you know the recipe below was created and the result delivered was just what I was after. A quick (all up around 30 minutes), light and tasty dinner perfect, in my opinion, for a spring night in Perth. Next time I might try cooking the lamb on the bbq instead of the stove.

It’s nice when cooking ‘experiments’ work out. And as I’d never used anchovies or capers in any of my cooking before, this really was an experiment for me. Don’t be scared of the anchovies, they don’t make the dish taste of fish. The leftovers were great for lunch the next day, the flavours had intensified and I thought it was delicious.

Quick lamb salad with salsa verde and lentils

Warm lamb salad with lentils and salsa verde

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g new/baby potatoes (washed or lightly scrubbed if needed)
  • 350-400g lamb steaks or fillet (can replace with beef if you prefer)
  • 100g salad greens of your choice
  • 200g small roma or cherry tomatoes, halved.
  • 1 tin (400g) brown (puy) lentils, rinsed and drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Salsa verde

  • 2 cups herbs of your choice (I used two parts flat leaf parsley, one part basil and one part mint)
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 3 anchovy fillets, drained
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • ½ tablespoon (a squeeze) of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt, cover and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 – 20 minutes until cooked (but be careful not to overcook or they will fall apart in the salad). Timing will depend on how large your potatoes are.
  2. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frypan on a medium high heat. When hot, add lamb and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate and rest for 3-5 minutes. Cover with foil to keep warm. Once rested and ready to serve, slice .
  3. To make the salsa verde, place all the ingredients in a small food processor (I used the attachment on my stick blender) and process until you have the desired consistency (it can be almost a puree or quite chunky, it’s up to you). You could also do this by hand if you prefer (I haven’t tried, but I assume you could chop the herbs by hand, blend the anchovies, capers and garlic in a mortar and pestle and then mix in the liquids and herbs). Taste and season as needed.
  4. Arrange the salad ingredients however you like and drizzle over the salsa verde. Serve on its own or with crusty bread, which is good to mop up the leftovers. It’s also great the next day as a cold salad.