Roast Lamb


Freemark Abbey

Roast Leg of Lamb with Green Garlic Salsa Verde

A leg of lamb is one of those main-course choices that’s extra special and extra easy—especially if you order it boneless from your butcher. In our kitchen, we bring in whole lambs from our friend and neighbor Joe Valera, so we use every part of the animal. That’s why you’ll find nose-to-tail recipes for leg of lamb, lamb chops, and lamb belly in this book. In the spring, the meat is particularly tender and mild, with a flavor somewhere between lamb and beef tenderloin, so it goes particularly well with an assertive sauce. Our spring favorite is a salsa verde made with green garlic, which is young garlic that hasn’t developed a bulb and has a mellow onion-garlic flavor.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Green Garlic Salsa Verde


For the leg of lamb:
1⁄3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1⁄2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1⁄4 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1⁄2 cup rice oil or other neutral flavored oil
1 (6-lb) boneless leg of lamb
For the green garlic salsa verde:
3 cups finely chopped green garlic
3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 olive oil–packed anchovy fillets, minced
1⁄4 cup capers, chopped
4 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano


To marinate the lamb: In a food processor, combine the parsley,

thyme, rosemary, oregano, salt, pepper, lemon zest, garlic, and rice oil

and process until smooth. Rub the mixture evenly over the lamb. Place

the lamb in a large resealable plastic bag or wrap it in plastic wrap, then

refrigerate overnight.


To roast the lamb: Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 1 hour before

roasting. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the lamb, fat side up, in a roasting pan and roast for 1 to 11/2 hours,

until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg

registers 125°F.


Meanwhile, prepare the salsa verde: In a small pot, combine the green

garlic and olive oil over low heat and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until the

garlic is soft. Remove from the heat, let cool to room temperature, then

strain through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a small bowl. Set the green

garlic and oil aside separately.


When the lamb is ready, remove from the oven, transfer to a cutting board

and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for 20 minutes. Pour the pan

juices into a liquid measuring cup, let stand for a few minutes until the fat

rises to the surface, and then skim off the fat with a large spoon.


In a medium bowl, combine the reserved green garlic, the pan juices,

anchovy, capers, vinegar, Aleppo pepper, and salt and stir well. Add the

parsley and oregano just before serving so they remain green. Adjust the

consistency of the sauce as desired with the reserved green garlic oil (it

should be like a thin pesto), then serve at room temperature. You should

have 2 to 2 1/2 cups. The leftover green garlic oil will keep in an airtight

container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


To serve: Slice the lamb against the grain and arrange the slices on a

platter. Spoon some of the sauce over the top and serve the remaining

sauce on the side.