Meat master Bruce Aidells's inspiration for this Mediterranean-flavored leg of lamb was a dish he tried during the annual sheep festival in St-Rémy, Provence. During the festival, legs of lamb are strung up and cooked over an open fire, then served with a green-olive tapenade, which became the basis for Aidells's lemon-scented crust. "You can also use the crust as a stuffing in a boneless leg of lamb," he says.
More Lamb Dishes
4 anchovy fillets
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon chopped marjoram
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup pitted green olives, such as Picholine
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
One 7-pound, bone-in leg of lamb
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 450°. In a food processor, combine the anchovies, garlic, lemon zest, marjoram and pepper and pulse until finely chopped. Add the olives and pulse until finely chopped. With the machine on, add the olive oil and process to a coarse paste.
Place a rack in a roasting pan and set the lamb on top. Slather the lamb with the olive paste and roast on the lowest rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350° and roast the lamb for about 1 hour and 10 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 125°. Let rest 15 minutes before carving. Pour any accumulated juices into a bowl and serve with the lamb.
Bordeaux and lamb are a classic pairing, but an American wine can also be appropriate, like one of Napa Valley's many top-notch blends.
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