Chef's Recipes

Lamb cutlets with za'atar, toum and caramelised shallots

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for lamb cutlets with za'atar, toum and caramelised shallots.

By Joseph Abboud
  • 35 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 10 mins cooking plus marinating, cooling
  • Serves 4 - 6
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Lamb cutlets with za'atar, toum and caramelised shallots
"Don't trim the fat from the cutlets - this keeps them moist and full of flavour while cooking," says Abboud. "Toum is essential for a Lebanese barbecue. Leave a bowl in the middle of the table - it really goes well with everything. Yes, everything. At Rumi, we use it for brushing on meats after they're grilled." Begin this recipe a day ahead to marinate the cutlets.


  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 8 lamb cutlets (50gm each)
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 18 golden shallots
  • 30 gm sea salt flakes
  • 1 tbsp za’atar (see note)
  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 250 ml vegetable oil (1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  • 1
    Finely mince onion in a food processor, then strain through a muslin-lined sieve into a bowl. Take up all four corners of the muslin and gently squeeze onion to extract juice.
  • 2
    Place cutlets in a single layer in a non-reactive container and set aside. Combine oil, allspice, sumac and 50ml onion juice (discard solids and remaining juice) in a bowl, pour mixture over cutlets and toss and massage to coat, then refrigerate overnight to marinate.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 150C. Place shallots, salt and 250ml water in a roasting pan, cover with foil and roast until very tender (1 hour). Set aside to cool, then halve lengthways, keeping the root intact. Thread shallots onto metal skewers with the cut sides facing the same way and set aside.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, for toum, pound garlic, 2 tsp oil and a pinch of salt in a large mortar and pestle to a smooth paste. Stir in half the lemon juice, then, while continuing to stir, add a little oil in a thin, steady stream. Repeat with remaining juice and oil, then refrigerate until required. The toum should be a mayonnaise consistency; if it’s too thick, add a little warm water or lemon juice. Makes 250ml; toum will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days.
  • 5
    Heat a coal barbecue to medium-high heat, add cutlets and shallot skewers and barbecue in batches, turning occasionally, until cutlets are charred golden and cooked medium-rare and shallots are golden (5-6 minutes for cutlets; 6-7 minutes for shallot skewers). Rest cutlets for 3-5 minutes, then rub with a little toum, scatter with za’atar and serve hot with shallot skewers.


Note Abboud prefers to use Sami's Kitchen za'atar.
Drink Suggestion: Our 961 Red Ale or 961 Lebanese Pale Ale Drink suggestion by Joseph Abboud