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Nero Wolfe’s roast lamb February 29, 2012

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Lamb, Wolfe recipe.

One of my favourite moments in the Nero Wolfe A&E series is at the end of the Before I die episode. Once the murderer is revealed and life is getting back to normal in the Brownstone, Nero Wolfe receives a package. It turns out to be lamb chops and Fritz and Wolfe debate about how they should be prepared. I really like the interactions between the two characters, as they throw ideas at each other before deciding to rub them with ginger, olive oil, mustard – and thyme. While the A&E series is generally very faithful to the books, in this case this scene does not appear in the book (part of the Trouble in Triplicate collection).

However, a similar recipe appears in the Nero Wolfe Cookbook, from Fer de Lance, the first Nero Wolfe story. In this case, Fritz happily rubs a leg of lamb with garlic and other spices. Indeed, the recipe I followed was very simple. I started by making a marinade/rub of mustard, garlic, soy sauce, ginger, olive oil, and thyme of course. I cut up an onion for the lamb to sit on, then rubbed the lamb as well as I could with the marinade.

Now it was simply a matter of putting the thing in the oven until it was done. It took about an hour, as it was a relatively small leg of lamb, and after it was done I let it rest for about 15 minutes while I prepared a simple salad to go with the lamb. I admit I forgot to take a photo of the lamb when it came out of the oven, but here’s a shot after we’d cut a few pieces. The mustard rub had formed an almost crispy layer on top of the lamb.

This was certainly simple to prepare – but simple doesn’t mean it can’t be complex in flavour. The meat was perfectly cooked, and I think the layer of mustard helped seal in the juices. The mustard marinade had permeated throughout the meat, with the flavours of mustard, ginger and thyme coming through the most strongly.

The lamb was also excellent the next day as leftovers and in sandwiches, with the mustard crust adding a lovely flavour. While the recipe in the Cookbook only mentions Fritz, I would like to imagine Nero Wolfe and Fritz working on this dish together, each contributing different elements for the whole dish.



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