Seared lamb flatbreads with olive tapenade, feta and quick-pickled cucumber


First published in 2016
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When you fancy the delicate, sweet meat of lamb but don’t have time for a roast, lamb leg steaks are perfect. Brushed with a little seasoning, olive oil and chilli, seared in a hot pan and sliced thinly, they make a wonderful addition to many main courses. Lamb pairs especially well with other Mediterranean flavours: herbs, soft cheeses, olives. Here, slices of perfectly pink lamb are wrapped in thick flatbreads spread with a deliciously rich, salty black olive tapenade. This comes together in seconds in a food processor, and uses wonderful plump Crespo black olives, enriched with the tang of garlic, lemon juice and capers. These olives are easy to use with no mess – simply pour them straight from the packet into the food processor and enjoy their ripe, bold flavour as you mix in the other ingredients. This olive spread has the unmistakeable aromas of Provence, heady with thyme, anchovies and garlic. It works perfectly with the lamb – garlic and anchovies are traditional partners for the meat - and I’ve added creamy, tangy feta cheese for extra taste and because it also pairs well with the sweetness of lamb.

Because this is quite a rich, salty mixture of ingredients, the flatbreads are lightened with a quick-pickled cucumber. The slight sweetness and crunch of the cucumber lifts the whole dish, and adds another lovely texture. These can be served like a pizza, or rolled up and eaten with the hands (it will get messy!) Either way, they’re excellent for a quick but hearty and satisfying lunch or dinner, full of contrasting textures, colours and flavours.




Seared lamb flatbreads


First, prepare the cucumber. Halve it lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Discard
Slice the cucumber widthways into thin slices and place in a colander. Sprinkle with the salt, stir, then leave for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, put the rice vinegar and caster sugar in a small pan and heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn off the heat. When the cucumber has had its 10 minutes, add to the vinegar mixture, stir well and set aside
For the tapenade, put all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor and pulse to a coarse mixture (or pound in a pestle and mortar)
Add the olive oil gradually, pulsing briefly in between additions, until you have a chunky black paste. Taste to check the seasoning, adjust (you may want more lemon juice or herbs, but probably no salt as the ingredients are already salty), and set aside
For the lamb, brush the meat with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper and the chilli flakes
Heat a griddle pan or large frying pan over a medium-high heat, then add the lamb. Sear for 3 minutes on each side, then remove the meat, put on a plate, cover with foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes before slicing thickly
Put each flatbread on a plate. Spread generously with the tapenade, then scatter with the feta and pickled cucumber (drained of its liquid)
Layer over the pieces of cooked lamb, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately. You can eat this like a pizza, or roll it up like a wrap – just make sure to keep napkins handy!
First published in 2016
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