A French cutlet refers to a particular way of cutting the meat. We are probably most familiar with lamb cut this way. If you imagine a rack of lamb cut into slices, so each portion has its own bone, then you are looking at a cutlet. The excess meat has been trimmed away from the bone and a tiny layer of fat has been left. It is a very refined piece of butchery that enables us to eat from the bone in an acceptable way. You can buy a rack and divide it into cutlets or ask your butcher to do this for you. Allow at least three cutlets per person.
Before you start cooking the cutlets make a ratatouille. There are many versions of this but essentially it is a vegetable stew made with garlic, onions, eggplant, red peppers, courgettes and tomatoes. Cut all these into large dice.
I make it in a pot by starting with olive oil and cooking off the garlic and onions. Once soft, I add the other vegetables in the order I have listed above, letting each cook down before adding the next. Add more oil if required and cook gently, this is not a quick cook.
You can add some fresh or dried thyme or basil and season well with salt and pepper. It should not be soupy but neither should it be too dry. Serve warm as a side dish. Any leftovers can be eaten cold or reheated the next day.
Cook the meat at room temperature.
1 Heat a little oil in a solid pan.
2 Season the cutlets well with salt and pepper and cook in the hot oil. Cook one side first until sealed and browned. Turn once and brown the other side. Remove from the pan and rest the cutlets in a warm oven.
Don't overcrowd the pan. Cook in batches so the heat remains high and the lamb is well coloured.
3 While the lamb is cooking, steam some green beans.
4 Arrange the ratatouille in a mound on the plate. Place the cutlets on top, then add your beans.
There will be enough delicious moistness from the ratatouille to act as a sauce for the meat.By Grant Allen