Monday, April 25, 2005
Worthy is the Lamb
In honor of Easter (it's still Easter season for us!) and Passover, I decided to make my dad's barbequed butterfly leg of lamb. It was a smash hit and all twelve pounds of meat disappeared. I enjoyed a piece of it with the other yummy dishes (one was a middle-eastern type white bean/tomato/cucumber type salad ... delish).
I got the lamb from Trader Joe's already boneless; the cutting job didn't thrill me, but at least it was pretty well trimmed. Good trimming is a big secret to this recipe; cold lamb fat tastes awful. (I wish I could remember what one of my dining companions said about Julia Child's advice ... something like "if you don't trim your lamb, it will taste like moldy socks".) Like my pal Jamie's Lamb on a Stick, it will convert avowed "lamb haters".
Dad got this recipe years ago in a "Cooking for Men" class given by the local utility company (no joke!) and it has been an Easter staple since.
If you have access to a good butcher, get them to properly bone and butterfly the leg. You will probably have to do some work cutting fat off it. The results will be worth the fuss.
Bill's Butterflied Leg of Lamb
For a 5-6 pound leg, make the following marinade:
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup "salad oil" (I used a combo canola and cheap olive)
1/4 cup GRATED onion (fridge it first to help with the tears)
1-2 cloves garlic, smooshed
1 teaspoon salt
1 scant teaspoon black pepper
Herbs to taste, including thyme. I used fresh thyme, oregano, and rosemary. I left them in branch format, and removed them on the que, but grinding the herbs to a paste with the salt is optimal for flavor dispersal.
Put lamb in a glass or ceramic dish and cover with marinade. Marinate at room temp 1 hr or overnight in the fridge. Turn occasionally.
We grill this for about 25 minutes on our Webers, over indirect heat (coals at side of que), turning once and basting with the marinade (for safety's sake, you should boil it up on the stove) midway. Be careful if you have pieces of different thickness. Lamb should be brown and crisp on the outside and still pinkish on the inside.