Pistachio Crusted Lamb Cutlets with Artichokes
500 g (1 lb) cutlets of suckling lamb, well trimmed
100 g (3½ oz) pistachios, whole and raw 2 large artichokes or 3 small
50 ml (3 tbsp) white wine or vegetable stock
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Put 20 pistachios aside and blend the rest to coarse crumbs. If the pieces are too big they don’t adhere to the meat, but be careful not to over-process or you will end up with a paste.
Squeeze the lemon and put the juice in a large bowl of cold water. Prepare one artichoke at a time by first cutting off the stem, leaving only a couple of centimetres (1 inch), then peel it. Pull off the outermost rough leaves around the stem and continue until you get down to the lighter green leaves. Cut off the top third of the artichoke with a large serrated knife, then cut it in half. Use a teaspoon or a grapefruit knife to scoop out the bristly inner choke. Slice the artichoke halves thinly and drop the pieces immediately in the lemon water to prevent discoloration.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, fry the peeled garlic clove for a couple of minutes, then add the drained artichoke slices. Fry for 5 minutes, add the wine/stock with 50 ml (3 tbsp) water and the whole pistachios. Season with salt, lower the heat and cook covered for 15 – 20 minutes. Add some more water if the artichokes start to dry out.
In the meantime, whisk the egg in a shallow dish and in another dish combine the ground pistachios with the cheese and a pinch of salt. Dip the lamb cutlets first in the egg, letting excess drip off, and then in the pistachio crumbs turning twice. Place the meat on a baking tray lined with baking paper, brush the cutlets lightly with two tablespoons of oil using a pastry brush, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Place the artichoke slices on a heated serving platter and arrange the lamb cutlets on top. Serve immediately.
This dish is definitely easier to prepare in Italy where you can buy already cleaned artichokes and pistachios in crumb or flour form. On the other hand, lamb has to be ordered as it is generally eaten only at Easter. You may want to wear latex gloves when cleaning the artichokes as they can stain the skin slightly while handling them. Usually this discolouration can be removed with lemon juice. An alternative would be to buy frozen artichoke hearts, but not the flat artichoke bottoms.