Crisp coated rack of lamb with Caesar dressing

Kitchen Cabinet: When this lamb is seasoned with Achill Island sea salt, you can taste the essence of Ireland

This dish is a beautiful alternative to grilled chops and spuds, using Calvey's Achill mountain lamb. The Calveys have been rearing Mayo blackface mountain lambs for seven generations, since 1856 in Keel, Achill, Co Mayo. They take such good care of their lambs to ensure the finest quality meat. Their lambs are born on the island and are organically reared in their natural habitat, among the sea-misted heather hills and mountains. They are solely fed a natural diet of herbs, heathers, grasses, mosses and lichens, and traditionally butchered in Calveys' own abattoir and butchers.

We use this lamb in the restaurant and find its flavour unique, thanks to the influence of both sea and mountains. The meat is lean and tender. When this lamb is seasoned with Achill Island sea salt, you can taste the essence of Ireland.

We consider ourselves lucky to have so many wonderful local artisan producers at our doorstep here in Co Mayo.

Kevin Stirzaker is owner and head chef at Dining Room in Ballina, Co Mayo.


Calvey’s Achill rack of lamb with Velvet Cloud Caesar dressing

Serves 2

4 centre cut lean lamb chops, trimmed of all fat
Achill sea salt and pepper

For the crisp crumb:
300g plain flour
2 eggs
300ml milk
500g dried breadcrumbs (you could add chopped herbs such as chives and parsley)

For the salad:
200g fresh mixed leaf lettuce
8 cherry tomatoes
½ cucumber, sliced into strips

For the dressing:
1 pot Velvet Cloud sheep's milk yoghurt
¼ clove garlic
4 anchovies
100 grated Parmesan cheese


For the lamb chops, make sure the chops are very clean of fat and sinew leaving only good clean lean meat on the bone. Season the chops with sea salt and pepper.

2 To bread the lamb, set up three shallow tubs, one with flour, one with eggs and milk (lightly whisked), and one with breadcrumbs.

3 One at a time, hold the bone of the chop and dip the meat into the flour, lightly coat and shake off excess, then dip in the egg mix, lightly coat and shake off excess, and finally in the breadcrumbs to lightly coat. Repeat the process again. Then do the same with the other chops.

4 For the salad, combine the lettuce, sliced cherry tomatoes, and sliced cucumber, place into a suitable bowl or plate.

5 For the dressing, combine all ingredients into a blender and blend well.

6 Heat up an oven to 180 degrees.

7 Using a large pan, shallow fry the lamb in vegetable oil. Alternatively, you can use a deep fat fryer, which you will need to heat to 180 degrees. Carefully place the breaded lamb into the hot oil for three to four minutes, or until golden brown on both sides.

8 Remove the chops from the hot oil and place on a baking tray. Lightly sprinkle with a little Achill sea salt. Place the tray into the pre-heated oven for five minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for two minutes.

9 To serve: Place the chops on top of the salad and spoon around the Velvet Cloud Caesar dressing.

Kitchen Cabinet is a series of recipes for Food Month at The Irish Times from chefs who are members of Euro-Toques Ireland, in support of Ireland's food producers. #ChefsMeetProducers.