This advertorial is brought to you in partnership with Spanish Luxury Lamb
There is a Spanish lamb promotion in Hong Kong running right now until 22 April, brought to us by the European Union. For a short time, you can find an array of different dishes celebrating the exquisite speciality of Spanish lamb.
For the next two weeks, you can pick up some luxury lamb at participating supermarkets or you can choose to have it prepared for you at several restaurants around town.
Restaurants participating in Luxury Days Spanish Lamb
La Paloma chef Alex Fargas grew up in Barcelona, a close neighbour to the region of Aragón at the base of the stunning Pyrenees mountain range in Spain. Whilst lamb was not as common as other meats, Chef Fargas and his family would eat the exquisite speciality of their neighbouring county quite often.
“In the centre of Spain, the culture is to use what the land gives you. We have a lot of mountains, the climate and produce are very diverse and we have many different breeds of sheep. We would eat cordero asado (roast lamb), costillas de cordero (lamb chops) and one called churrasco de cordero, which is what we used to develop our recipe for lamb short ribs here at La Paloma.” – Chef Fargas, La Paloma
In Aragón, for hundreds of years, lambs of a particular breed of sheep have been fed a strict diet of their mother’s milk, grains and high-oleic sunflower seeds. This results in a lamb called Agnei Ibérico, which has a high level of fat and an extremely favourable omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. So along with being marbled and deliciously tender, it is also considered much healthier than its pork and beef counterparts. With health being more important to educated consumers everywhere, it’s no wonder this type of lamb is starting to become more popular.
Agnei Ibérico lamb dish at Pica Pica
Whilst this type of “luxury lamb” is becoming more well known and in demand around the world, it is only one part of the Spanish lamb repertoire. Spanish lamb includes three types that are unique:
- Ibérico lamb (Agnei Ibérico) with its special fat profile
- Milk-fed lamb, which is characterised by its delicate white meat and lack of gamy aroma
- Recental lamb, a very tender, slightly pink lamb with a mild flavour
Here in Hong Kong, you will usually find someone at a dinner party who will not order lamb, and this is probably owing to their upbringing or perhaps an exposure to the strong flavour and aroma that sheep are known to produce, especially if it is an older animal (like mutton) or not of good quality. Chef Fargas is excited to introduce exactly this kind of diner to Spanish lamb.
“The Spanish lamb we are using has a flavour and aroma that are not as intense, but the amount of fat it has, when you put it in your mouth, it is really something special.”
As Chef Fargas sees it, the problem is not that 100% of diners won’t love the lamb – it’s getting past the mental barrier of trying it. That’s why he is working to put some dishes on the menu that are a bit different from the traditional ways we are used to seeing lamb served.
Chef Fargas’ Ibérico lamb dishes at La Paloma
Chef Fargas has two Ibérico lamb dishes available at La Paloma for the curious to try.
Ibérico lamb short ribs ($198) are served crispy skinned with braised Spanish green onion (calçot) and a roasted tomato romesco sauce. There is no distinctive lamb aroma, and the pastoral flavour is not as rich and sweet as typical Australian lamb. The crispy layer of skin reminded us of pork crackling, and the meat itself was incredibly juicy. Whilst not being overly large, this is definitely a sharing dish owing to the natural layers of tender meat and fat, so do order a salad alongside.
Also on the menu for a limited time is a more traditional dish of pan-seared Ibérico lamb loin ($295) with sautéed spinach, pumpkin and lamb jus.
For more information about Spanish lamb and what is happening around Hong Kong in support of the campaign, check out the Spanish Luxury Lamb website
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