Noisettes of lamb with artichokes Nocciole d’Agnello con Carciofi

Serves 4

400g (14 oz) lamb fillet
4 small artichokes
A slice of lemon
4 tbsp of olive oil
A bunch of spring onions, trimmed and chopped
55g (2 oz) prosciutto crudo (Parma ham), with fat, cut into strips
A ladleful of stock
1 tbsp capers, preferably salted, rinsed
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Noisettes are the most tender cut of lamb and, in this recipe, they should be accompanied by equally tender artichokes. It is during the spring that you will be able to find these tender artichokes which, prepared in Pinzimonio, can even be eaten raw. But you can substitute canned artichoke hearts.

Cut the lamb fillet into 2.5cm (1 inch) thick noisettes. Wash the artichokes and pull off the tough outside leaves. Trim off the tops and cut into quarters. If the artichokes have hairy chokes, remove these with a sharp knife. Put the hearts aside in a bowl of cold water with the slice of lemon (to prevent discoloration).

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and fry the noisettes, turning them over so that they brown on each side. Remove them from the pan and place them in a hot dish to keep warm. Add to the pan the spring onions and the prosciutto strips, and fry briefly over a high heat. Add the pieces of artichoke and stir-fry all together for 5 – 6 minutes. Now add the stock and drained capers, turn the heat down and cook gently for a further 10 – 15 minutes or until the artichokes are cooked.

Return the noisettes to the pan and add the parsley, pepper and salt (if necessary). Mix the meat with the artichokes, and serve straightaway.

This recipe is from An Invitation to Italian Cooking