Lamb's kidneys from Spring lamb are best, mild and tender. They are also inexpensive and cook in a few minutes, they will keep better if you buy them in the jackets of white fat.

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 4 lambs kidneys trimmed of all fat and gristle and cut into 1½ cm dice
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon marjoram or thyme leaves

Hazelnut Oil Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons hazelnut, walnut or extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sugar
  • 16 caramelised shallots
  • 450g peeled shallots
  • 55g butter
  • 120ml water
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • sprig of thyme or rosemary
  • Selection of lettuces (ie. butterhead, lollo rosso, curly endives, rocket leaves, winter purslane, watercress etc.) - allow a generous handful per person for a starter portion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large potato, the longer the better 110-170g

Method

  1. First prepare the shallots. Put the shallots, butter, water, sugar, salt, pepper and herb into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer covered until the shallots are tender.
  2. Remove the lid and allow the juices to evaporate and caramelise being careful they don't burn. You are trying to keep the shallots intact throughout the cooking.
  3. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and keep aside. I usually place it in a lidded jam jar.
  4. Wash and dry the lettuces and salad leaves if necessary, break into bite sized pieces and place into a deep salad bowl.
  5. Heat good quality oil in a deep fry to 200C.
  6. Peel the potato and cut into long fine julienne strips on a mandolin, in a food processor or by hand. Wash off the excess starch with cold water drain and pat dry. Deep fry the potatoes until they are golden brown, keep warm to serve with the salad.
  7. Final preparation: Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and when hot add the kidneys. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, add freshly chopped marjoram or thyme leaves and cook according to your preference. Don't overcook the kidneys or they will become tough.
  8. While the kidneys are cooking - toss the lettuces with the dressing and divide between 4 hot plates. Place the warm shallots and some of the buttery juices around each pile of salad. Arrange the straw potatoes carefully on top of each salad.
  9. Finally, sprinkle on the cooked kidneys straight from the pan around the salads. Serve immediately.