BARBECUED LEG OF LAMB
Seasonal Spanish Food
by Jose Pizarro
I think recipes for lamb and kid are interchangeable. In Spain, milk-fed lamb is considered the best for eating; I love it, because it brings back happy memories of my childhood. As a chef, though, I have to say that while a still suckling lamb produces meat that is certainly very tender, it lacks the flavor of meat from grazing lambs.
This is a great dish to cook on a grill, and baked potatoes make a delicious accompaniment. You could serve with baby spinach leaves mixed with orange slices.
You can ask your butcher to butterfly the leg, in other words, to bone and then flatten out the meat.
· 1 leg of lamb (approx. 2lb), boned
· 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
· 1 (1¾ oz) can salted anchovies, including the oil
· 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
· 1/2 fresh red chile, or to taste
· 1 large rosemary sprig, leaves stripped
· 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
· freshly ground black pepper
· 2 lb potatoes, peeled
· 1 onion, sliced
· 1 bay leaf
· 6 tablespoons extra virgin
· olive oil
· salt and freshly ground
· black pepper
Put all the marinade ingredients in a food processor and pulse the machine on and off to make a paste. Don't add any salt—there is already a lot present. Just add a few grinds of fresh black pepper if you wish.
Cover the meat in the paste and let it marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 12 hours, but ideally 24 hours.
The best way to cook the lamb is on a grill. This is not an exact science, but the way I judge if the coals are hot enough is to place my hand about 8in away from the coals. If I cannot count to four, the coals are too hot. Four seconds is the right heat! Grill for about 10 minutes on each side.
Alternatively, preheat the oven to 425°F and roast the lamb for 20 minutes. Allow the roast to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
For the baked potatoes, preheat the oven to 425°F. Slice the potatoes into 1/4in-thick pieces. Mix them with the onion slices, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and enough olive oil to coat everything. Place on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the foil and cook for another 15 or 20 minutes, until the vegetables have turned a nice golden brown.
If you are roasting the lamb in the oven, the potatoes can share the space, although you'll need to allow longer if they are on a low rack; they can be finished off higher up once the meat is resting.