No 462: the Leg of Lamb

Friday, April 2, 2010

A roast leg of lamb is the pièce de résistance of any Greek celebratory meal, and Easter is the biggest holiday of all. In the old country (and back country), a whole lamb is roasted on a spit in an all-day cooking extravaganza. This recipe, however, is a little easier to accomplish in the average kitchen.

The most important thing is the leg of lamb its self. Many lamb recipes will call for a boneless leg; purchase one if you enjoy mutton. This is why most Americans think lamb is so unpleasant to eat; mutton is pretty awful. Martha, Ina and Nigella all suggest a boneless legs of lamb with the shank attached, but these women have long-term relationships with butchers who fear them.
You, sadly, do not.

So when you go to the market to buy a leg of lamb, look at the bone. It should be as slender as possible, not much larger than your pinkie finger. This will ensure you're eating a tender, delicious lamb.

Crush 20 cloves of garlic and mash with olive oil to make a paste.

Heavily crust the lamb with salt, pepper and oregano
(dried or fresh, it makes no difference).

Spread the garlic paste over the lamb, creating a 1/4" layer.

Roast at 350 degrees, cooking 15 minutes per pound; the internal temperature should be between 140-145 degrees. Don't over-rest the lamb. It's not an elderly person or a fussy infant. It will continue to cook unless you carve it soon after removing it from the oven.

My mother serves this dish with the most delicious roasted potatoes, seasoned with rosemary, oregano and salt, and a spring green,
usually fresh asparagus from our garden.

Kalí óreksi!


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