Recipe, Simple Roast Leg of Lamb “Lulu Peyraud”, Erik Desjarlais, chef, Portland, Maine, ME, How to cook lamb, roast leg of lamb, chef’s recipes, spring recipes, evangeline, Bandol,Crispy Calf Brain Fritters


Formerly Of Restaurant Evangeline - Portland, ME


Crispy Calf Brain Fritters with Sauerkraut, Capers and Browned Butter Vinaigrette

Recipe Courtesy of chef Erik Desjarlais of Evangeline restaurant, Portland, ME

“I have been selling calf’s brains in Portland since 2003, and have sold more than I thought I would. Once people think of the whole animal as edible and delicious, it is pretty easy. Then they keep coming back for more.”


Calfs Brains

- 1 whole calf brain, soaked in water overnight

- 1/2 gallon brine (formula follows)

- 1 cup fine breadcrumbs.

- Oil for deep frying - preferably 2 cups beef taloe and 1 cup canola oil


- 1/2 gallon water

- 1/2 cup salt

- 1/4 cup honey

- 6 bay leaves

- 6 cloves garlic

- 1 tablespoon peppercorns

- 2 tablespoon white vinegar

Sauerkraut Accoutrement

- 1 cup drained homemade sauerkraut (or Maine made Morse’s… one of the best)

- 2 oz Applewood smoked bacon, cut in to lardons

- 1 tablespoon minced shallot

- 10 capers

- 2 oz butter

- Few drops champagne vinegar

- Fines herbes (fresh parsley, chives, tarragon, chervil)

- Sea salt and fresh pepper



1. Bring brine ingredients to a boil and simmer 3 minutes.

2. Chill overnight without straining.

Calf Brains

1. Bring chilled brine to a boil and tip the brain in, immediately turning off the heat. 

2. Allow brains to cool in the brine. This will impart flavor, poach and lightly cure the brain, and draw out any impurities.

3. Heat oil/fat to 360 degrees in a wide, heavy bottomed skillet. Grandma’s would work perfectly for this.

4. Cut the brain into 6 nuggets and toss in the breadcrumbs until well coated.

5. Carefully drop the brain nuggets into the oil and immediately and carefully stir so they don’t touch or overcrowd each other.

Meanwhile: Prepare Sauerkraut Accoutrement

1. Over medium heat, melt the butter until it bubbles, then add in the raw bacon.

2. Allow the butter to brown (not blacken) while the lardon caramelizes (if timed properly, they should reach appropriate doneness simultaneously).

3. Add the sauerkraut. 

4. It should deglaze the pan and stop the butter from browning any further. 

[Check on your brain fritters. You want golden brown and crispy]

5. Add the shallots and capers.

6. Taste, and add salt, pepper and vinegar to taste. 

7. The vinegar and browned butter should create the balance of a basic vinaigrette. 

8. Finish with fines herbes.

Finish Calf Brain Fritters

1. They should be golden brown delicious. 

2. Spoon them out on to paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. 


1. Spoon a small pile of the Sauerkraut on to two warm plates, evenly distributing the capers. 

2. Lay three fritters on each plate, and enjoy with anything from a Puligny Montrachet, to Alsatian Riesling to Spanish Cava.

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Simple Roast Leg of Lamb “Lulu Peyraud”

Recipe Courtesy of chef Erik Desjarlais of Evangeline restaurant, Portland, ME

The cooking of Lulu Peyraud, the matriarch of Domaine Tempier in Bandol, France, is my inspiration for this lamb dish. Her approach to cooking was essentially the “mother’s milk” that nurtured me when I was a young cook. Heavy on simplicity, with olives and garlic, the flavors are the quintessential accoutrement to lamb. Peeled and roasted new potatoes would be a perfect addition, along with some braised bitter greens. The leg itself should offer up a wide range of doneness, based on your guests needs. Everything from perfect “a point” to well done and crispy toward the shank bone.

Total Time

About 4 hours


For the lamb:

- 1 x 7 lb bone in leg of lamb, pelvic bone removed

- 1 onion, chopped

- 1 white leek, chopped

- 2 heads garlic split along equator

- 1 cup pitted Provencal black olives

- 5 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped

- 2 cups Provencal white wine (a dry white wine)

- 5 sprigs thyme

- 5 sprigs parsley

- olive oil

- butter

- salt and pepper

For the sauce:

- 1 cup dry white wine

- 1/2 cup pitted Provencal olives chopped

- 3 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped

- 3 shallots, minced

- chopped parsley

- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter


1) Allow the lamb leg to sit out at room temperature for 2 hours. This part is crucial.  Meanwhile, prepare your other ingredients. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2) Heat a heavy bottomed 9 quart pan (such as a Le Crueset) over medium heat. Rub the leg with olive oil and liberally season with salt and cracked pepper. Pour 1/8” olive oil in pan, and as soon as it smokes, add the leg. Add about a 1/4 cup of butter and brown the leg on all sides, slowly. This should take about 30 minutes.  If the butter begins to darken, degrease the pan and add new oil and butter. (Noisette is okay, but noir is not.)

3) Once the leg is browned, remove from the pot, degrease the pot, and add the onion, leek, parsley, olives, anchovies, thyme, and garlic. The juices from the vegetables will deglaze the fond from the pot. Place the lamb leg back in the pot sprinkle with a bit of the white wine, and place in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes then turn the oven down to 300 degrees. Roast for another 50 minutes, deglazing the pan with white wine as you go. You want to create a glaze, then de-glaze.

4) When a meat thermometer reads 128 degrees in the fattest part of the leg, pull it out of the oven and out of the pot. Let it rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board. While it rests, deglaze the pot again over high heat with the one cup of the reserved white wine, and scrape up all the tasty bits from the bottom with a wood spoon. Strain through a chinois, and reserve the liquid. Discard the spent aromatics. Reduce the liquid in a saucepan and once it coats a spoon, add the shallots, olives, anchovies, parsley, and butter. Season to taste, adding a few drops of sherry vinegar to sparkle it up a bit. 

5) Carve the leg at the table for the “ooh…ahhhh” effect, and serve the sauce in a tureen with a ladle. (Make sure your mother-in-law gets to pick off little bits of crispy fat, seasoned with fleur de sel, before it arrives to the table.)



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[Closed as of November 2010]

Portland, Maine


190 State Street

Portland, Maine 04101 (view map)

T: 207.791.2800




Eric Desjarlais is a chef and writer from Portland, ME.


Erik gained national recognition for his creative, French classical style of cooking.