After making a stock from pigs ears and feet a few weeks ago, I feel ready to face any part of the animal that crosses my path. The thought of eating charred, slightly pink in the middle kidney seems a trifle in comparison. The role of the kidneys is to filter excess water and waste products from the blood and for this reason I searched out the freshest organic kidneys in Norwich. I arrived at Harvey’s Organic Butchers just after the lamb delivery, so the kidneys couldn’t have been much fresher; the butcher brought them out still wrapped in their suet jackets, which he gave me for free to go in the freezer for dumplings.
The recipe I followed is from Simon Hopkinson’s Roast Chicken and Other Stories. I’ve read that veal kidneys are one of the best things you can eat, but I couldn’t find any; the lamb kidneys that I used were delicious anyway.
- 50g tin of anchovies, drained of oil
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 225g butter, softened
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 rosemary sprig, leaves only
- black pepper and salt
- 2 veal kidneys, suet removed and trimmed of any excess fat and membrane (I used lambs kidneys)
- Watercress and lemon wedges to garnish
*I halved these quantities to make enough for two.
- Puree together the anchovies, lemon juice, butter, garlic, rosemary and pepper. Check for salt, pass through a sieve and refrigerate for at least four hours.
- Cut the kidneys into 5mm slices, season with salt, pepper and a little olive oil and sear on a very hot griddle for no more than 45 seconds-1 minute.
- Serve with a piece of the butter and the lemon and watercress.
*I served them with roast parsnips and a salad.
Searing hot griddle
Lambs Kidneys with Anchovy and Rosemary Butter
One of the benefits of working for a deli is occasionally using the wholesale discount we get from our suppliers. For £3.60 I picked up half a dozen local oysters to guzzle down as a starter; I had one au naturel, one with lemon juice and one with lemon juice and finely chopped parsley. The first is the purest way, an unadulterated shot of Davey Jones’ Locker, but my favourite was the third option as the lemon and parsley leave a lovely fresh taste in the mouth.
Oysters and kidneys, this was probably one of the most adventurous meals I have eaten. You might have noticed the lamb leg steak on the left hand side of the griddle; Annabel was not feeling quite so intrepid! Kidneys are a great source of vitamins and minerals and the tender, melt-in-the-mouth texture of fresh young lambs kidneys is a real treat. Because there is not much demand for offal nowadays, they hardly broke the bank; four for just £1.50.