Good things are worth waiting for, that's why you won't find Comeragh mountain lamb on Easter dinner tables. The lean, flavoursome mountain lamb from the rugged terrain behind Dungarvan, Co Waterford is in season later than its lowland cousins, and later this month the first, milk-fed lamb of the season will be on sale online at comeraghmountainlamb.ie. Lemybrien farmer William Drohan runs a flock of 700 of the hardy, black-faced ewes, originally brought to the area by English and Scottish landlords in the 1700s. His lamb is proving popular with chefs, including Michael Quinn, executive chef at Waterford Castle, who plans to serve it in the hotel's Munster dining room as Assiette of Comeragh Mountain Lamb - braised shoulder with parsnip puree, roast loin with wilted spinach and spiced fillet with aubergine caviar and lamb jus.
Quinn, a gifted teacher who lectures at Waterford Institute of Technology and is returning to college to do a Masters in education in September, buys the lambs whole for the kitchen at Waterford Castle and butchers them himself. He can usually break down a lamb in 20 minutes, but recently spent a morning demonstrating and explaining the butchering process to a group of journalists visiting the area. Of particular interest was his treatment of the shoulder, which he boned, but left attached to the shin. It was then flattened out and tied up in a shape that made it look like leg. Describing it as an "Italian leg of lamb", Quinn suggests slow roasting this cut.