Herb Crusted Lamb with Mint Gremolata
For the lamb:
- 3 1/2 - 5 pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied
- 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cracked pepper
For the herb filling:
- 1 cup fresh herbs (a mix of 2 or 3 of the following) thyme, sage, rosemary
- 1 cup Italian parsley (about half a bunch), tender stems okay to use
- 10 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
For the roasted vegetables:
- 6-8 cups of a variety of chopped root vegetables (i.e., potatoes, carrots, celery, parsnips, sun chokes, leeks, onion, garlic cloves)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh herbs
For the mint gremolata:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped mint leaves
- 1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon chopped capers
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion or shallot
- Salt if necessary
- Heat oven to 425 F.
- Remove lamb from packaging and pat dry well. Trim away any unwanted fat. A little marbled fat is good, big chunks are not. It’s OK to also remove some or all of the outer layer of fat if that doesn’t appeal to you. Sprinkle all sides with 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place outer side (side with fat) down.
- Make the herb filling: Place all the herbs, garlic, lemon zest and salt in a food processor and pulse until it becomes like very coarse sand. Add oil, scraping down the sides if necessary, pulse until just combined. Not too smooth or oily. This should feel like a dry course paste. Spread two-thirds of the paste on the inside of the lamb.
- Roll up the lamb, with the filling on the inside and tie at 1-inch intervals. You can either do individual strings and knots or wrap up with one very long string. It really doesn’t need to be perfect, just do the best you can. Rub the remaining filling paste all over the outside of the lamb. If leaving the outer layer of fat on, score the fat a little with a knife and rub the paste into the slits. (At this point you can refrigerate for 1 to 2 days if making ahead, wrapping tightly in plastic wrap. Make sure to bring to room temp at least 1 hour before roasting.)
- You have 3 roasting options. You can: 1. Roast alone on a wire rack, over a pan, (fastest), 2. Roast directly on your oven rack (messiest) with a sheet pan on the rack below to catch the drippings, or 3. Prepare a bed of veggies for the lamb to rest on and roast over top (longest, but tasty).
- For the roasted vegetables: Cut any combination of roasting vegetables into bite-size pieces. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, a few springs of herbs, stir and lay the lamb roast over top.
- Place in a hot 425 F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 F (If roasting directly on the oven rack, lower temp to 300 F). Continue roasting for another 50 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, or until lamb registers at least 125 F (rare) to 135 F, remembering that the size of the lamb will determine how long it takes to cook. Avoid opening the oven door too frequently or adjusting the heat too much. Remove the lamb from the baking dish, set aside and let the veggies continue to cook, if needed, while the lamb rests 20 minutes.
- While the lamb is roasting, make the gremolata by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Slice the lamb with a 6-3/4" Petite Carver and serve with roasted vegetables and mint gremolata, and be ready for the oohs and ahhs.