Dukkah Dusted Lamb Cutlets with Quinoa and Aubergine Salad
Portion/Yield:Serves 4 as a main course
With more daylight and the prospects of summer looming, this is enough to change my mindset and the way I think about food. It’s incredible but they say that most cooks/ chefs are very emotional, their feelings influence their work, almost like artists. I see myself as an artist in my own rights and yes my immediate environment and feelings definitely influence my cooking, recipe creations and work.
With the seasons changing and seeing the baby lambs in the fields encourages me to cook with lamb. I have been making this dukkah coated dish for some time now and finally I have a reason to document it as a recipe for the British Larder.
What is Dukkah? It’s a spice and nut blend originally from Egypt. Each household has their own recipe and blend their own dukkah spice according to their taste. It’s used as a garnish over vegetable and salads or a as cooking ingredient mixed with oil, juice and sometimes honey to coat meats. The dukkah spice and nut blend is a great store cupboard ingredient. You can purchase ready made blends or make your own like this recipe of mine. I incorporated ingredients that I like and store it in a small spice pot amongst the rest of my spices. It’s a lovely touch to add to North African styles dishes. To transform ordinary steamed rice add a few teaspoons full of the dukkah spice , toss and serve or use to create that ultimate wow factor this summer at your BBQ gatherings.
I served these delicious dukkah dusted lamb cutlets with a quinoa and aubergine salad. The aubergines are cooked using a hot griddle pan and then marinated in a delicious marinade made from olive oil, honey, pomegranate and orange blossom vinegar. Aubergines are easy to get wrong and hard to inject with flavour, this combination is a winner, the flavours work well and the end result is very tasty aubergines indeed!
Quinoa is a seed similar to grain and originates from South America. It’s gluten free, easy to digest and high in protein, in short quinoa has more nutritional value than rice or wheat. Both the brown and white varieties of quinoa are regularly available in the UK, I purchase mine from a good supermarket or health food store. It’s very important to remember to cook quinoa correctly, I cook it like rice and not like instant couscous. It should boil rapidly at least for 12- 15 minutes in plenty of water.
To complete my delicious dukkah dusted lamb cutlets with quinoa and aubergine salad I served it with a saffron yoghurt. The cutlets could be cooked in a griddle pan, in the oven or even on the BBQ. This marinade also goes well with chicken, quails, duck or white fish such as cod, halibut or haddock.
Ingredients & Method
Dukkah Spice and Nut Blend
- 1/2 tsp whole cloves
- 1tsp whole fennel seeds
- 1tsp coriander seeds
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2tsp salt
- Pinch ground turmeric
- Pinch crushed dried chillies
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 30g chopped roasted hazelnuts
- 40g chopped pistachio nuts
- 30g roasted white sesame seeds
Dukkah Crusted Lamb Cutlets
- 8 lamb cutlets
- Dukkah Spice and Nut Blend
- 1tbs roasted sesame oil
- 1tbs honey
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Quinoa and Grilled Aubergine Salad
- 120g white quinoa
- 1tsp turmeric
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1tbs honey
- 1tbs olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 25ml pomegranate molasses
- 1 aubergine
- 100g green beans, blanched and sliced
- 1tbs chopped fresh continental parsley
- 1tbs chopped fresh chives
- 30g golden sultanas, soaked in boiling water
- Natural yoghurt for serving
First prepare the dukkah spice and nut blend. In a pestle and mortar crush the cloves, fennel, coriander, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, turmeric and dried chillies to a powder. Add the hazelnuts, pistachio nuts and sesame seeds, mix lightly and the dukkah spice and nut blend is ready to be used. Store the mixture in a airtight container until needed.
Next prepare the lamb cutlets. In a small mixing bowl mix the dukkah spice and nut blend with the oil, honey, lemon juice and zest. Season the lamb cutlets with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, dip each cutlet into the dukkah mixture, rub the mix in, coating both sides. Let the cutlets marinade for 40 minutes.
While the lamb is marinading prepare the salad. First cook the quinoa in a medium size saucepan. put in the quinoa, turmeric, salt and pepper and cover with twice as much cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the quinoa is tender to the bite (almost like pasta, al-dente and not completely pappy). Once cooked, drain the quinoa using a sieve (a colander’s holes are too big and it will all wash away) refresh under cold running water and drain.
Make a vinaigrette, measure the honey, olive oil and pomegranate molasses and vinegar into a mixing bowl and whisk, season to taste.
Griddle the Aubergines, heat a griddle pan. Wash and cut the aubergine in 1/2 cm thick rounds. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper on both sides. Griddle the aubergines on the hot griddle pan, do not add any oil, cook for approximately 2 minutes on either sides, you are looking for dark griddle marks. Place the hot aubergines in a tray and pour the vinaigrette over, leave to soak and absorb the vinaigrette for 20 minutes, turn them over after 10 minutes.
Finish the quinoa salad: Mix the drained quinoa, cooked and sliced green beans, chopped herbs, drained soaked golden sultanas together, season to taste and then drizzle the vinaigrette from the tray over to bind it all together, add further vinaigrette to taste.
To cook the lamb, heat a griddle pan or large non-stick frying pan, cook the cutlets 3 -4 minutes on each side, leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve the lamb with the quinoa and aubergine salad with natural yoghurt.
The dukkah spice and nut blend is a great store cupboard ingredient. You can purchase ready made blends and some may not contain nuts. I made my own and incorporate ingredients that I like and store it in a small spice pot amongst the rest of my spices. It’s a lovely touch to add to Persian or Moroccan styles of cooking. To transform ordinary steamed rice add a few teaspoons full of the dukkah spice and nut blend, toss and serve. This blend is also delicious with chicken, quails or white fish such as monkfish, turbot, brill, cod, haddock and or halibut.
With the summer and BBQ season approaching make super yummy chicken skewers as follows: Cut deboned chicken thigh meat into large even size pieces (I cut deboned thighs in half, leave the skin on for extra flavour) make the marinade as per the recipe above for the lamb cutlets (remember to double the quantities for a large amount of chicken), leave to marinade over night and the following day I skewer the diced chicken onto metal skewers, about 4 pieces per skewer and cook them over a hot BBQ. It’s delicious served with a yoghurt based sauce such as the saffron yoghurt or even plain yoghurt mixed with seasoning and chopped mint, delicious!