This is what I’m making this year . . . a tried and true success from last Easter. I decided last year to go zooming out onto the skinny branches and make leg of lamb for Easter dinner. The reason this is definitely skinny branch level is that I have no real clear idea of what lamb is supposed to taste like. This is an ok situation on a normal experimental family dinner night – but when you’re having company and it’s Easter and you’re cooking something you’ve only had once or twice before and you aren’t totally sure what it’s supposed to turn out like . . . that’s some stress. Last year I was further thwarted by having an oven that had no clear identifying marks to tell you what the temperature was inside there. So as I was shopping around for recipes and I came across a grilled leg of lamb – I jumped at it. And as it turned out it was supremely good! Plus it had the added benefit of being rather non-traditional – so all the English guests at the table weren’t sure what it was supposed to taste like either. Win, win. (This is a Giada de Laurentiis recipe – by way of giving credit where credit is due.)
Grilled Lamb with Salsa Verde
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice (from about 4 lemons)
1/2 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 c. chopped scallions
1/4 c. chopped fresh mint
1/4 c. salted capers, soaked for 30 minutes, drained, and coarsely chopped.
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. crushed dried red pepper flakes
3 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 (4 1/2 – 5 pound) boned and butterflied leg of lamb
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
nonstick cooking spray
In a large bowl, stir the oil, lemon juice, parsley, scallions, mint, capers, lemon zest, and red pepper flakess to blend. Whisk in 1 1/2 tsp. of the salt and 1/2 tsp of the black pepper. Set the salsa verde aside.
Place the lamb in a 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Rub the remaining 2 tsps. of salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, and the garlic all over the lamb, turning to coat it evenly. (At this point you may cover the dish and remaining salsa verde separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 1 day.)
Spray a grill rack with nonstick spray and prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium-high heat, or preheat a large rectangular ridged grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the lamb, turning occasionally, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thicker parts registers 130 degrees F. for medium-rare, about 40 minutes (or to taste.) Transfer the lamb to a work surface and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Cut the lamb across the grain into thin slices. Arrange the lamb slices on a platter and crizzle with some of the reserved salsa verde. Serve the remaining salsa verde alongside.
This was fabulous served with homemade flat breads and a cannelini bean and prosciutto salad.