Roasted Leg of Lamb
I am a proponent of marinating meat without acids such as wine, vinegar, soy or lemon juice. Using an acidy liquid to marinate will eventually begin to “cook” the meat making it tough and leathery. By using olive oil, herbs and black pepper you give the meat great flavor and the oil helps break down the tough muscle making it more appealing in texture and flavor. Don’t use salt in marinating because this will draw out the juices of the meat causing it to be dry and tasteless.
Ask your butcher to remove the aitchbone and gland and to leave the end of the bone intact. Removing the aitchbone and leaving the end bone intact makes it much easier to carve: The end bone acts as a handle when carving. Discard the gland (the butcher will do this for you).
1 7 to 8 Pound Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb, Aitchbone Removed, Fat Trimmed to ¼ Inch and Leg Tied (Ask your butcher to make it “Oven Ready”)
¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (XVOO)
12 Roasted Garlic Cloves, Smashed
1 Bunch Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, Rinsed
1 Bunch Fresh Oregano, Rinsed
4 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary, Rinsed
2 Teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Coarse Sea Salt
Place the Leg of Lamb in a non-reactive dish or pan. Score the Lamb by making shallow cuts all over the fat and rub ½ cup of the olive oil and roasted garlic cloves all over the lamb and sprinkle with the pepper. Lie the parsley, oregano and the springs of rosemary on top of the lamb and pour the rest of the olive oil over the herbs. Do this the night before you are going to cook the Lamb. Loosely cover the Lamb with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 425ºF with the oven rack placed on the lowest third of the oven.
Take Lamb out of refrigerator one hour before roasting and place on a rack in a roasting pan large enough to hold it. Use a shallow sided pan. This will allow the heat to circulate around and under the Leg of Lamb. Bringing it to room temperature will allow for more even cooking. Remove the herbs from the Leg of Lamb and place them on the bottom of the pan.
Sprinkle the Leg of Lamb with the Coarse Sea Salt.
Roast the Leg of Lamb with the high heat for 20 minutes. Turn the temperature of the oven down to 375ºF and cook the Leg of Lamb for approximately 1¾ to 2 hours or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the Leg registers 140ºF. Be sure to not hit the bone when inserting the thermometer.
Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 30 minutes loosely covered with foil (loosely means just laying over the meat). The Leg will continue to cook and reach 145ºF for medium.