You really need young nettles for this recipe: they give a lovely, earthy flavour to the mint sauce. Make sure you wear a good, thick pair of Marigolds when you pick them! They’re then blanched to get rid of their sting, and the distinctive smell will fill the whole kitchen. Nettles are a fantastic, and very abundant, ingredient – try adding them to a watercress soup, they really add flavour.
I’m always surprised how well this dish sells when it’s on the menu – not everyone likes kidneys. But this is so delicious that that I often do the kidneys part of it as a standalone starter with some good crusty bread. It’s essential to get a good colour on the kidneys when you fry them – that’s where the flavour is.
Ingredients: Serves 4
4 Barnsley chops
salt and pepper
a little chopped rosemary
For the devilled kidneys
4 lamb kidneys
dash of brandy
200ml whipping cream
2 tblsp strong English mustard
4 tblsp white breadcrumbs
1 tsp chopped parsley
1 tsp cayenne pepper
For the sauce
4 tblsp nettles, blanched and roughly chopped
4 tblsp mint, roughly chopped
4 tblsp white wine vinegar
4 tblsp rapeseed oil seasoning
- Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper and add a little chopped rosemary, then place on a greased baking tray under a hot grill for about 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes, and then rest in a warm place.
- To make the devilled kidneys, slice the kidneys in half and cut out the fatty sinew. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the kidneys for about 2 minutes until golden brown and just cooked. Take the kidneys out of the pan and put into an ovenproof dish. Deglaze the pan with a little brandy, add the cream and mustard and reduce to a sauce consistency, and then pour over the kidneys. Mix the breadcrumbs, butter, parsley and cayenne together in a bowl, and then sprinkle over the kidneys and grill until the crumbs are golden brown.
- To make the sauce, place the nettles, mint, white wine vinegar and oil in to a liquidiser and purée, and then check the seasoning.
- To serve, place a chop on each plate with two half kidneys, and spoon nettle sauce over the top.
- A perfect combination to serve with pickled red cabbage and boulangère potatoes.