Vinegar marinated lamb
Until quite recently peasants in Puglia were relatively poor, which may explain why they chose to prepare vinegar marinated lamb.
Food in Puglia is generally characterised as poor man’s fare. The main ingredients are vegetables and fruit combined with blue fish, lots of local olive oil and orecchiette from homegrown wheat. Meat is used only sparingly. So when the traditional cooks prescribe a vinegar marinade for lamb, I see it as an attempt to make the tough meat of old and sinewy sheep edible.
Acidic liquids like vinegar and lemon juice have the propensity to cook and tenderise fish as seen in anchovies and ceviche. From this point of view it’s only natural to try the same procedure on meat, which may have led to the development of this recipe for vinegar marinated lamb found in Il Cucchiaio d’Argento’s Cucina Regionale cookbook series.
In the original recipe, the meat is cubed and cooked in a stew of tomato sauce. I wanted to serve the lamb as a pot roast with stamped potatoes and celeriac compote, and it exceeded all expectations.