Lamb Leg Steak with Pistachio Gremolata and Marsala Onions

This tender and smoky grilled leg of lamb is a memorable centerpiece of a summer barbecue.

Lamb Leg Steak with Pistachio Gremolata and Marsala Onions
Photo: Victor Protasio
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 35 mins

At Tavernetta in Denver, Colorado, chef Ian Wortham’s tender and smoky grilled lamb steak — topped with a lemony pistachio gremolata, Cipollini onions caramelized in Marsala wine, and a garlicky caper dressing — is a stunning main course. Wortham uses a cross-cut slice of leg, which he tenderizes with a Jaccard, a sharp-toothed butcher’s tool. Wortham says the tender lamb steak, which has the richness and flavor of a working muscle, is one of the best cuts to cook in the summer. That said, you have to tenderize the meat. “Be sure to thoroughly tenderize the steak, which will take four to five passes,” he advises.

Much of the work for the accompaniments can be done ahead of time, and it's worth the effort to make the sweet-tangy Marsala Cipollini Onions, Garlic-Caper Vinaigrette, and Pistachio Gremolata. The Garlic-Caper Vinaigrette and Marsala Cipollini Onions can be served alongside any grilled or roast meat, like turkey, roast chicken, and beef. You can chop up the onions and spoon them into sandwiches. If you have leftover Pistachio Gremolata, try it as a condiment for roast chicken, grilled fish, roasted root vegetables, a topping for polenta, or instead of pesto over minestrone.



  1. Place steaks on a work surface. Using a meat tenderizer or fork, poke steaks all over until well tenderized (or ask your butcher to tenderize the steaks). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

  2. Meanwhile, open bottom and top vents of a charcoal grill completely. Light charcoal chimney starter filled with briquettes. When briquettes are covered with gray ash, pour in an even layer on bottom of grill. Place lamb steaks on oiled grate; grill, uncovered, turning occasionally, to desired degree of doneness, about 10 minutes for medium. Transfer to a platter; let rest 10 minutes.

  3. To serve, spoon 2 tablespoons Garlic-Caper Vinaigrette over each steak. Top evenly with Marsala Cipollini Onions, syrup from onions, and Pistachio Gremolata. Serve immediately.

Suggested Pairing

Rich, black currant-y Valpolicella Ripasso

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