Lamb tenderloins are a beautiful cut of meat that requires next to no cooking, or in some cases, no cooking at all. Otherwise known as fillets or tenders, lamb tenderloins are petite long cuts of lamb found under the ribs of the animal where they do little to no work.
In turn, this means this juicy cut of meat has minimal connective tissue making it one of the most tender cuts of lamb before even hitting the pan. Mere minutes are required if you choose to turn up the heat and cook your lamb tenderloins, but they can also be prepared for eating raw! This is the cut to show off the tenderness of the meat and can be served uncooked as it is of the finest quality. No bones, just pure tender meat perfectly portioned in small, usually 80g pieces, to best suit canapés, entrees, appetizers, and salads.
A less traditional cut that hasn’t had the spotlight like the rack and shoulder, the tenderloin would have to be one of the easiest and quickest cuts of lamb to cook with. Similar to how lamb shanks took off in 2000, the tenderloin is yet to have its turn as the star cut, but we’re calling it for 2023 as it's so adaptable and has the ability to truly show off when it comes to boasting the clean grass-fed nature of the Maimoa handpicked lamb.
Chef Tom Baker who currently works at Amisfeild restaurant in Queenstown, one of the top restaurants in New Zealand, and known for some of the most innovative and creative food in the country, told us what he loves about lamb tenderloins, “I usually roll them into the saddle with horseradish leaf or something like that. Or I love to smoke them over the fire and finish in lamb fat, like a very quick poach and then BBQ. I think they are pretty special. Only getting the 2 small loins from the whole animal is pretty cool, almost like chicken oysters, like a little treat.”
When served medium rare, lamb tenderloins are an incredibly versatile cut to incorporate into your menu. The options are endless with this little cut of meat. Whether that be grilled whole for 4-5 minutes, rested and served plated with a sauce like chimichurri for a starter; thinly sliced and stir-fried with egg noodles and a sauce for roaming noodle boxes at a large-scale event; pan seared with foaming thyme butter and cut into medallions then tossed through rocket with roasted vegetables for a seasonal warm salad; threaded onto skewers, rubbed with spices, grilled and basted with a sticky sauce for a delicious kebab; or finely chopped and cooked as a lean and clean mince and served in a fried wonton pastry or a lettuce leaf for a bite-sized canape.
Tenderloins are a fantastic addition to any catering or restaurant menu. They are a quick cook cut and take on marinades like a dream. With zero fat, tenderloins require next to zero preparation and can be used for service straight from the fridge with no waste. An incredibly easy-to-cook cut that shows off the premium quality of meat that is Maimoa handpicked lamb.
Alternatively, this is a cut that can be prepared raw due to its clean nature and non-connective tissue. Cut in a variety of ways for palette appeal, the tenderloin can be served cold and raw to show-case the tenderness and richness of the meat. Options include a delicious lamb tartare where the cut is finely chopped and then served with mustard, finely chopped pickles, chives, parmesan, egg yolk and a house mayonnaise for guests to mix themselves at the table. Alternatively, rub the tenderloins in a spice rub with a little curing mixture, chill for 1 hour then thinly slice and serve sprayed out as a carpaccio with roasted pepper mayonnaise and crunchy capers for a delicious entrée. The tenderness of the meat when eaten raw and the way it melts into the flavours is a true showcase of the Maimoa lamb and its high quality.
The options with this cut of lamb are more than meats the eye (pun intended). A small prized cut, where a little can really go a long way.