Last week I was felled like a tree with the flu. James took excellent care of me, but he was soon slammed with the same bug. Come Saturday he was tucked in bed, quarantined from Ella who, luckily, managed to escape all the muck. We had planned to celebrate my birthday on Sunday (truth be told, it would be my second birthday celebration—the first was a date night in the city a couple of weeks ago, which was incredible except for our post-date hangovers… we are getting old). Birthdays at this age are a mellow affair—James and Ella spoil me with a few small gifts and make me dinner. In the hopes that James would be better by Sunday evening, I decided to marinate a partial boneless leg of lamb that I had dug out of the freezer. While Ella painted a bunny at the kitchen table, I whisked together a mess of fresh herbs, garlic, anchovies, Dijon, lemon juice and olive oil. In went the lamb for the night with fingers crossed that James would soon return to the land of the living. On Sunday morning the sun was shining brightly and thankfully James woke recovered. I couldn’t have asked for a better day—gardening (err, watching James and Ella garden), a family walk with the dog, jumbo cookies, a nap in the hammock… Come dinnertime, James resumed his dinner duties and roasted baby potatoes, made a quick salsa verde and grilled up the lamb with some asparagus while Ella made me a birthday headband and picked a fresh bouquet of desiccated plants and shrubbery from the yard.
It was warm enough to eat outside—our first back deck meal of the year—and the lamb was utterly fantastic—richly flavored and superbly tender. I donned my butterfly headband and felt like the luckiest woman alive.This lamb is incredibly simple but flavorful and would make for a lovely Easter centerpiece. Use any mix of herbs you like (I used mint, rosemary, thyme, parsley and marjoram) and be sure to coat the lamb fully for maximum flavor. You can marinate it at room temperature for up to two hours, or overnight in the fridge. I like to serve it with a salsa verde or simple mint pesto. Spring has sprung.
Herb Marinated Grilled Leg of Lamb
- 1 whole or partial butterflied boneless leg of lamb
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ - 1 cup finely chopped mixed herbs , such as mint, thyme, rosemary, dill, parsley, savory and/or marjoram
- 3 - 6 garlic cloves , grated on microplane
- 3 - 6 anchovies , finely chopped (don’t worry, you won’t taste them, but they add awesome flavor)
- 2 - 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Juice of ½ - 1 small lemon
- ¼ - ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Season the lamb with salt and pepper. In a bowl large enough to fit the lamb, whisk together the herbs, garlic, anchovies, Dijon, lemon juice and olive oil. Add the lamb and coat it fully in the marinade. Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours, or refrigerate it for a few hours or overnight. If refrigerated, bring the lamb to room temperature before proceeding (30-60 minutes).
- Preheat a grill to medium. Brush the marinade off the lamb, season it with another small pinch of salt and pepper, and grill it on a lightly oiled rack, covered, turning as needed, until a thermometer reads 125 to 128°F for medium-rare, about 8-15 minutes per side, depending on its size. Let rest 10 minutes. Slice the meat against the grain and serve with mint pesto or salsa verde if you like.