Nuno Mendes' earthy concoction of lamb and onion leaves with the grain amaranth that, like all good things, takes a while to put together: you'll need to leave a couple of days to make this masterpiece.
For a chef, having mentors like Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Ferran Adrià must be akin to taking music classes with Chopin and Brahms. Nuno Mendes' London restaurant demonstrates the qualities of ambition that most good protégés possess.
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You'll need a long run-up for the lamb so start a couple of days in advance by making the marinade. Combine the water, pink salt, salt and sugar in a bowl. Put the marinade and lamb into a vacuum bag, seal and leave in the fridge for 48 hours
1000ml of water
1 pinch of pink salt
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
1 lamb belly
Transfer the vacuum bag into the sous vide bath and cook at 65°C for 12 hours
Preheat the oven to 195°C/Gas mark 5. If your oven has a convection setting, select it
Next prepare the lamb jus. Roast the bones in the oven until golden brown
3kg lamb bones
While the bones are roasting, make a mirepoix by chopping the onion, garlic and thyme
1 bulb of garlic
1 bunch of fresh thyme
When the bones are golden, add the mirepoix, lower the oven temperature to 165°C/Gas mark 3 and roast for 10 minutes
Add enough water to cover the bones, turn off the convection setting (if you have one) and bake for 3 hours
Strain the bones, reserving the golden/light brown liquid. Lift the fat off the top and reduce the stock until it has a strong flavour. Leave in the fridge overnight to set
To make the onion leaves, vacuum seal the pearl onions at full pressure, microwave for 1 minute and then place the bag in ice-cold water
8 pearl onions
When the onions are cold, cut through the equator and peel off the leaves for garnish
Sweat the shallots in a saucepan with the butter and oil. While they are cooking, toast the amaranth grain. When the grain is ready, add to the shallots and cover with the chicken stock. Allow to cook for 10-12 minutes until the grains still have a little crunch. Season and reserve until ready to plate
30g of shallots
10g of butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
100g of amaranth grain
250ml of white chicken stock
To make the milk skin, fill a half gastro tray 400ml deep with the milk, put it on top of the stove and bring to 110°C (use a thermometer to keep the temperature constant) when a skin will form
400ml of whole milk
Lift the skin off onto a tray lined with cling film and sprinkled with a few drops of milk to stop the skin sticking. Add more drops of milk and more cling film, wait for the next skin to form, and repeat
600ml of whole milk
To plate, place a spoonful of amaranth in the centre of the plate. Arrange the lamb belly next to it. Scatter the onion leaves across the amaranth then top with the milk skin. Drizzle the jus across the plate, then scatter the samphire, tahoon cress and wood sorrel to garnish
2 2/3 handfuls of samphire
2 2/3 handfuls of tahoon cress
2 2/3 handfuls of wood sorrel
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