This recipe conjures up the era when people knew their butcher by name. If you are lucky enough to have that kind of relationship today, ask him or her to french the shank bone, so you can use it as a sort of handle when you’re carving the meat.
A hearty roast lamb calls for equally hearty herbs that can stand up to its intense flavor.
Yield: serves 8
2 hours, 20 minutes
One 7–8 lb. leg of lamb, at room temperature
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled, divided
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
¼ cup finely chopped fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven (with the rack positioned in the center) to 350°F.
If your butcher has not already done so, remove the 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 the lamb. Cut 3 of the garlic cloves into slivers and slip them into the incisions.
Mince the remaining garlic, then add it to a large bowl, along with the bread crumbs, parsley, and rosemary. Toss to combine, then season with kosher salt and black pepper. Mix well. Rub the lamb all over with olive oil, then brush with the mustard. Sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture over the lamb and pat it with your hands to form a thick, even coating. Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil, then place the lamb fat side up in the pan. Transfer to the oven and roast until a meat thermometer inserted at the thickest point registers 130°F, 11⁄4–11⁄2 hours. Remove the lamb from the oven and set it aside to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before carving.