This recipe would also be great done on the barbecue. It uses Israeli couscous, which is also known as ptitim or Jerusalem couscous. It is actually an Israeli pasta shaped like rice or little balls. I like to eat it hot or cold and it has the added advantage of retaining its shape and texture even when reheated, as it does not clump together.
- 1 tblsp olive oil
- 300g (11oz) Israeli couscous
- 2 x 300g (11oz) boneless lamb loins, well trimmed
- 1 tblsp rapeseed oil
- 50g (2oz) blanched almonds, cut into slivers
- 100g (4oz) stoneless black olives
- 3 tblsp roughly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
For the Yoghurt Sauce:
- 200g (7oz) thick Greek yoghurt
- 4 spring onions, finely minced
- 2 tblsp chopped fresh mint
- 2 tblsp chopped fresh dill
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Dash of olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6). Put a large pan of water on a high heat and bring to the boil. Add the olive oil and a good amount of salt (2 tablespoons to 1.5 litres). Add the Israeli couscous and simmer for about 8 minutes or according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat a heavy-based oven proof frying pan over a medium-high heat. Brush the lamb all over with the rapeseed oil and season to taste. Add the lamb loins to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning regularly, then transfer to the oven and cook for another 3 minutes, until medium-rare. Leave them in a little longer if you prefer your meat more well done.
- Transfer the lamb to a carving board and cover loosely with foil. Set aside for 5 minutes to rest.
- Wipe out the frying pan and toast the almonds until lightly golden. Slice or halve the olives. Add the drained couscous to the pan, then fold in the almonds, olives and parsley and season to taste.
- To make the yoghurt sauce, mix the yoghurt in a bowl with the spring onions, mint, dill, lemon juice and olive oil. Slowly whisk in enough water to make a smooth sauce.
- Season to taste.
- Arrange the couscous to one side of warmed plates and then add a pool of the yoghurt sauce to each one. Carve the lamb into slices on the diagonal and arrange on top of the sauce to serve.