Chefs can learn more about various lamb
cuts in the sixth edition of the North
American Meat Processors Association
(NAMP) Meat Buyer’s Guide. “The lamb
section in the new Meat Buyer’s Guide was
improved upon by updating many of the
item descriptions and adding new items that
are of interest to the meat and foodservice
industry,” says Ann Wells, NAMP’s director
of scientific and regulatory affairs.
Elise Wiggins, Executive Chef
Fritto Anima Marsala
Yield: 8 servings
Some of the new items include pectoral
meat, flank steak, a notched and split
short loin and a semi-boneless lamb leg
steamship. Further processing options were
added to many of the existing cuts, such as
frenching, splitting, notching, butterflying or
adding a specification for a cap on or cap
off. “These options give processors and their
customers even more opportunity to find the
best way to fit lamb onto menus,” Wells says.
3 lamb hearts
½ cup all-purpose flour
Sea salt, to taste
4 T. olive oil
4 T. unsalted whole butter
2 T. fresh thyme
½ cup Marsala wine
2 cups veal demi
American Lamb Board
Method: Split hearts into quarters
lengthwise. Remove any tough arteries
and extra fat. Cross-slice into ¼-inch-
deep slices. Dust in flour seasoned with
salt. Put olive oil, butter and thyme in
sauté pan; heat to medium-high. Brown
small batches of heart; set aside. Return
heart to pan; add Marsala wine and demi
to deglaze. Bring to a boil; reduce to a
simmer. Simmer until sauce thickens.
Adjust with salt, to taste.
“I also believe using this guide and
researching the different cuts of American
lamb is helpful in applying the creativity
process to new menu items,” he adds.
Lamb is a protein that allows chefs to
manage expenses while presenting a high-end image on the menu. “One way to help in
making ends meet is to utilize all parts, which
for lamb means looking beyond the rack to
leg cuts, short rib cuts, shoulder cuts, breast
cuts, shanks and organ meats [i.e., offal],”
says chef Mark DeNittis, president/salumiere
at Il Mondo Vecchio Salumi, Denver.
Lamb typically is not viewed as a cost-effective protein to have on the menu.
Consider the price paid for lamb chops
at many venues: It can go as high at $45
for a full order at Gene & Georgetti in
Chicago. But there are ways for savvy
chefs to counter high costs.
Chef’s note: Serve over mushroom risotto,
mashed potatoes, rice or pasta.
Recipe courtesy of American Lamb Board
At Tayst Restaurant & Wine Bar, Nashville,
Tenn., chef Jeremy Barlow offers Lamb
Roulette, which is a different lamb cut, such
as leg, rack, shank or saddle, depending on
what’s available on a given day.
“This is a trend that we’ve been seeing
during the past several years because of
the lower price points to the restaurant,
the flexibility in preparing the different
cuts and acceptance by the dining public.
The new Meat Buyer’s Guide provides
chefs with the information needed to make
informed purchasing decisions. Lamb can
be substituted for a beef cut to give a dish
an entirely different flavor profile, as well
as a possible lower price point.”
Leonard says the guide is helpful to chefs
who buy lamb processed and are looking
for different cuts and cooking methods.
They can learn about the cuts, which
enables them to speak knowledgeably
with their meat purveyors when ordering.
Barlow buys and fabricates up to six lambs at
a time. “The great part about buying an entire
carcass is that my purchasing price does
not fluctuate, so I can pass those savings
on to my customer,” he says. “Price for the
lamb roulette dish ($27) does not increase
or decrease, no matter what is being cooked
that night. I pay one price per pound for the
entire animal, which is about $5.”