Lamb has so much flavor. Because of that, people generally love it or
hate it. I love it, and so does Evelyn, who provided today’s recipe for
Butterflied Boneless Leg of Lamb.
As with all meat, the cut of
lamb you use makes a big difference. The more a muscle gets used, the
more flavorful it is but the tougher it gets. The “rack” of lamb has the
mildest flavor and melts in your mouth. Next come loin chops, then the
larger rib chops, which are just slightly chewier. Shoulder chops, from
the part of the lamb where the leg meets the body, are the toughest cuts
you will find. Leg of lamb falls between rib chops and shoulder chops
on the tenderness/flavor scale. When cooked, it will have a texture
similar to that of a New York Strip beef steak and have a more intense
Like fish and produce, fresh is better than frozen. The
first place to look for fresh lamb is at your local Greenmarket. At the
Union Square Greenmarket, the biggest in Manhattan, there are at least
two producers who display there at least occasionally: Catskill Merino and 3-Corner Field Farm. Online, New York Prime Meats,
located in Garden City, Long Island has nice products (USDA Prime), and
were very responsive to my questions. They sell the meat seasoned with
rosemary, salt and pepper. 8 O'clock Ranch is
in upstate New York, closer to Ottawa and Montreal than it is to
Manhattan. They sell their own 100% grass fed, organic, humanely raised,
heritage breed lamb at good prices. The are currently offering free
shipping, and my mouth is watering. They were also very responsive to
Buy boneless leg of lamb. It is generally sold rolled
and tied. You can untie it and lay it out flat – that’s the butterflying
in the recipe. You can also separate it into individual muscles, if you
don’t want to cook the whole thing at once. They can then be cooked or
frozen individually. This recipe is is simple and effective for bringing
out the best in good meat.
The wine matches follow tradition,
more or less. Syrah from France’s Rhone Valley and Shiraz (same grape)
from one of the cooler spots in Australia will highlight the gaminess of
the meat. Aged Bordeaux and lamb are classic, with the bottle flavors
contrasting the sweetness of the meat. Madiran, the black wine of
France, can easily handle the lamb, and lamb is one of the few things
that can handle the Tannat grape. Finally there are the big California
Cabs, because we like them, and lamb steaks are one of the few things
that can that won’t be overwhelmed by them.
- Boneless Leg of Lamb, about 3 lbs.
- Herbs de Provence
- Garlic, chopped
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Rinse Lamb, then butterfly.
dry herbs, garlic, salt and pepper over the underside of the
butterflied lab. Let it rest for about 45 minutes to allow the lamb to
absorb flavor and come to room temperature.
- Brush to side with olive oil.
over charcoal grill (preferable), gas or electric grill, or in the
broiler. For a charcoal grill, use a two level fire. Sear the meat on
the hot side, and then continue cooking on the slow side. For gas or
electric, sear on high, and then turn to low for the rest of the cooking
time. For a broiler, sear on the highest level that will fit, then
continue cooking on the lowest level.
- Grill for 45 minutes to an hour for medium, depending on your cooking method.
rest for at least 15 minutes, The resting period actually lets the meat
reabsorb some of the juices that have been expelled during cooking. If
you slice too soon, the juices will be on your cutting board instead of
in the meat.
- Slice at an angle to the grain of the meat. Since a
leg of lamb is made up of several muscles, you may have to adjust your
cutting angle a few times.
- Serve with yellow skin potatoes and zucchini (sliced lengthwise), rubbed with olive oil and grilled.