Roasted topside of English lamb with grilled Tuscan vegetables, romano gnocchi with home-dried tomatoand melting blue Yorkshire cheese by Denis Watkins

11 September 2006
Roasted topside of English lamb with grilled Tuscan vegetables, romano gnocchi with home-dried tomatoand melting blue Yorkshire cheese by Denis Watkins


(serves three)

Lamb topside
3 cloves garlic
Rosemary leaves
Caul fat
1.25kg vegetables such as peppers, courgettes, aubergine, fennel
Olive oil
home-dried tomato(see recipe - about 20-30g per portion)
60g Yorkshire blue cheese
100ml reduced lamb stock
Salt and pepper

For the gnocchi 150g semolina
600ml milk,boiling, infused with nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
80g grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper


To prepare the romano gnocchi, slowly add the semolina to the boiling milk and stir rapidly to prevent lumps forming. Stir in the eggs and Parmesan (or a mixture of Parmesan and Cheddar). Season. Cook out gently and stir often for 15 minutes. The mixture should allow a spoon to stand up. Pour into a tray lined with greaseproof paper to a level of about 1in. Allow to cool overnight. Turn out and cut into 2.5cm roundels.

To prepare a batch of home-dried tomatoes, cut about 1kg of plum tomatoes into thick slices and put them on a rack over a tray. Sprinkle with 15g salt, freshly ground pepper and plenty of chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, basil and oregano. Leave to drain overnight, then bake in a very low oven for up to two hours until semi-confit.

Cut the topside into three equal portions cutting with, and not across, the grain. Stud with slivers of garlic and leaves of rosemary. Season well and wrap each piece in a thin layer of caul fat.

To cook the lamb, roast a portion in the oven at 180-200ºC for five minutes. Allow to rest. Brush the vegetables in olive oil, season and chargrill some vegetables, such as red and green peppers, cut in half and skinned, courgette cut into roundels, aubergine cut into roundels, fennel cut into eights held at the bottom by the roots. Cut roundels of gnocchi about 2.5cm thick. Top with home-dried tomato and Yorkshire blue cheese. Reheat through a hot oven for five minutes.

To serve, place the gnocchi on one side of the plate topped with tomato. Place grilled vegetables in a semi-circle around the other side of the plate and top with topside of lamb carved across the grain. Moisten with reduced lamb stock flavoured with the cooking juices.

Denis Watkins

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