he best part of menuing leg of lamb is the wide
variety of cooking techniques that this favorite cut can
accommodate. Grilling, roasting, braising, broiling,
sauteing and slow-cooking can produce a wide variety
of tasty options on the menu.
“We’re using boneless leg of lamb for better yield, better
presentation and for more even cooking temperature. Besides,
removing the bone is always a challenge, since you have to be
careful not to leave much meat on the bone,” Wall explains.
Aiming to marinate the leg of lamb as long as possible,
ideally, overnight, he finely chops a generous amount of
fresh rosemary and mixes it with crushed garlic and high-quality extra virgin olive oil, creating a rosemary pesto-type marinade. To roast the lamb, Wall places it in a 475°F
oven for an initial sear, then reduces the temperature to
275°F-300°F and cooks for 12-15 minutes per pound.
PHOTO CREDIT: Opposite and above, American Lamb Board
While eschewing the traditional mint jelly, Wall says his
sun-dried tomato/mint relish is a good pairing. To prepare
the relish, preferably several days in advance, he combines
chopped sun-dried tomatoes, minced celery, chopped onion,
salt and pepper, and strains over a bowl for at least an hour
to allow moisture to drain. Next, he combines sugar, pepper,
cloves, mustard seed and vinegar in a large saucepan and
brings to a boil, then reduces the heat and reduces the liquid
by two-thirds. He removes the saucepan from the heat and
adds the tomato mixture. The relish is transferred to a bowl
over ice to cool down. When it’s cool, mint is added and
seasoning adjusted with salt and pepper. To serve, a generous
spoonful is put on top of the sliced lamb.
it’s all greek
Lola is a Tom Douglas restaurant in Seattle known for its
modern Mediterranean menu with Greek and North African
influences. Liam Spence, executive chef, says cooking lamb
is fairly simple. Lola’s leg of lamb (typically procured from
Anderson Ranch in Oregon’s Willamette Valley) is one of his
Spence removes the bone from the leg of lamb, opens it up, then
rubs a mixture of Greek oregano (his secret ingredient), rosemary,
salt and pepper onto the lamb before tying it back together. After
marinating it for a day or two, he roasts the lamb in a 325°F oven
until it reaches an internal temperature of 130°F. He makes sure to
baste it every 15-20 minutes with extra virgin olive oil and lemon
juice “to create a nice crusty tang from the lemon,” he says.
Spence serves the sliced meat with lamb jus, shaved fennel
bulb, fennel pollen, chopped mixed Greek olives, olive oil
and lemon juice.
For a Middle Eastern take on lamb, Spence menus
shawarma, a version of the gyro. He takes 2-5 oz. of leg of
lamb meat, sliced super-thin into 1¼-inch pieces. “Then,
quick-saute in olive oil and a lot of spices—cumin, coriander,
Spanish paprika, fennel seed, cayenne, turmeric, fenugreek
(all toasted and ground, except the paprika)—until the meat
is tender and juicy,” he says. “Serve it on or wrapped in pita
bread, along with shredded lettuce, tomato jam and a garlic/
OPPOSITE: Lola’s leg of lamb, one of executive chef Liam Spence’s favorite
preparations, is served with fennel and Greek olives.
ABOVE: Scott Wall serves rosemary-roasted leg of lamb with sun-dried tomato/
mint relish, a customer favorite at Lark Creek Walnut Creek.