Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Butcher

I have a love affair with food shops: providores (Fratelli Fresh), markets, the fish markets, good bakeries, down to the humble suburban deli. And lately, where to buy good meat has been my interest du jour. I just can't buy meat from the supermarket anymore (or fruit or vegetables either); I'd rather buy quality meat even if it's more expensive than the unknown sold at Coles. This is one of the very few areas I actually have a conscious about: I want my meat coming from small farms, after watching Rick Stein passionately discuss large-scale abatoirs; and I want my meat to come from animals not pumped up with more chemicals than I can do on a summer's Saturday night. At first I thought I would rather pay more, just eat a little less, until I looked into it and found quality meat is often cheaper than the supermarkets. My favourite butcher at the moment is A&S Select Meats at Mascot (next door to those delicious Vietnamese pork rolls), and yesterday was another big stock-up of gorgeous meat. And the butchers are cheeky and flirty and that's what you want.

Spring means lamb and I couldn't wait to try some, especially in combination with the large couscous (moghrabieh) I picked up at Simon Johnson's Providores Market on the weekend. The lamb was as good as my tastebuds were hoping for, and this dish is perfect for mid-week dinner or weekend lunch in any season. It's robust, healthy, so quick to make, and lets the produce shine.

Large couscous and seared lamb salad
Cook the large couscous, or moghrabieh, according to the packet (it cooks like pasta, not couscous). At the same time season one lamb backstrap with either salt and pepper, or Moroccan spices. Sear in a hot pan for about 10-12 minutes, but do not overcook. Remove and let the lamb rest while you prepare the rest of the salad. In a large bowl mix together a few handfuls of baby spinach leaves, halved truss/cherry tomatoes, chopped parsley and the moghrabieh. On an angle slice the lamb (I like 1cm slices) and add to the salad. Crumble some fetta over the top and gently toss to combine. The pan juices are enough to flavour the salad, or some lemon would be nice too. Pine nuts, boconcini and cucumber would also go well in this salad.



Anonymous Sarah said...

ahhh....those lamb die for!

11:52 AM  
Blogger AlphaChick said...

I love A&S!! A used to get all the ingredients for a good 'asado' from there in the old days. Wow, seems like a lifetime ago. How did you find out about it?

6:46 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I'm going to make this tonight except i'm going to substitute the moghrabieh for chickpeas and add some asparagus. (hopefully - have you seen any decent asparagus out yet?)

10:24 AM  
Blogger Julia said...

It would be great with chickpeas, or regular couscous too. Asparagus has been very hit or miss, most of it limp. But Norton Street Grocer has some nice ones if you're in the east.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Julia said...

Haha alphachick! It was advertised in Good Living, and I've been hooked every since. Everything I've had from there is superb.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Julia said...

PS feel free to make me your asado when you're here ;-)

11:34 AM  

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