This recipe conjures up the days when people knew their butcher by name. If you are privileged to have that kind of relationship today, remind your butcher to leave the shank bone exposed so you can use it as a sort of handle when carving.
Leg of Lamb with Herb–Garlic Crust
A hearty roast lamb calls for equally hearty herbs that can stand up to its intense flavor.
Yield: serves 8
1 (7–8 lb.) leg of lamb, at room temperature
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 350°. If your butcher has not already done so, remove all excess fat from the lamb, leaving a very thin layer to protect the meat while cooking. Use the tip of a paring knife to make small incisions all over lamb. Cut 3 of the garlic cloves into small pieces and slip them into the incisions.
Mince remaining garlic and combine with parsley, rosemary, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Rub lamb with olive oil, then brush with mustard. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over lamb and pat down with your hands to form a thick, even coating.
Place lamb fat side up in a roasting pan. Roast until a meat thermometer reads 130°, about 1 1⁄4–1 1⁄2 hours. Remove lamb from oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.