When I originally thought about this dish, I wanted to make it as a “sushi” of slow roasted crispy lamb belly on a small portion of brown rice. Of course, the age-old problem of living in Japan reared it’s ugly head and I wasn’t able to find lamb belly here. I actually think it worked out better with lamb ribs and without the rice. Plus, it has the added benefit of being about a thousand times less wanky than calling something “sushi” when it clearly isn’t.
For the lamb ribs, preheat your oven to 180C, season the lamb and roast for about 1.5 hours until they’re sticky and tender inside and crisp and brown outside. Rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
While the lamb is cooking you can make the salsa verde. Don't make this too far in advance - you need to serve the salsa verde within about half and hour of making it as the vinegar will "cook" the green out of the herbs and it won't look nice. Just throw all the solid ingredients into a food processor in the proportions you like - I used a whole coriander plant (with root), a big handful of mint, 5 or 6 shiso leaves, 5 green chillies and two cloves of garlic. Pulse it for a few seconds until finely chopped and then transfer out to a bowl. I added about a teaspoon of fish sauce, a teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of yuzu kosho, about one and a half tablespoons of rice vinegar and a big squeeze of lemon juice. Mix it all together and that’s it.
Chop the ribs, dress with the sauce (or serve it separately) and enjoy. I served this with rice separately and with more of the sauce on the side.
A big difference between the sauce and a normal salsa verde (apart from ALL the ingredients, of course) is that it contains no oil. The flavour is sweet and biting and is perfect for cutting through rich foods like roasted meats or fried fish. I eat a variation of this (no mint) with Siew Yuk and it is perfect.
I also like this sauce with roasted lamb flaps. If you don’t know about lamb flaps, they are the belly off-cuts from the end of the chop. They’re sinfully cheap and pornographically fatty. A favourite in Fijian cooking, the import of lamb flaps has actually been banned in Fiji now in an effort to curb rampant obesity. When a country bans importing a food for making everybody too fat you know you’re in trouble. But still, do yourself a favour. Just once a year - no more - pick up some lamb flaps (around A$1 a kilo in Australia; never seen them in Japan) and slow roast them for a couple of hours in a low oven to render off most of the fat. Make up a simple sauce of coriander, chili, vinegar and sugar, sit back, watch some football and enjoy one of the simplest, cheapest and yet most obscenely indulgent things you could ever eat.
But back to the recipe - yeah, try this out too. It’s delicious.