A visiting sister gives me a good excuse to bring back some of my best dishes from the year. The Greek barbequed lamb, and Karl’s Greek Lemon Pilaf that I made for Easter were really successful. However I was sure I could make them even better. A cold green bean salad would complete the meal.
We Lueck’s love lamb. I had planned on giving my visiting sister, Karen, barbequed lamb for Christmas Eve dinner. My meat was all marinated and ready, but on Christmas Eve San Jose Spare-the-Air laws put the kibosh on that idea. I would have to make do with broiling it in the oven. Still there is no bad lamb.
Note: When you buy a leg of lamb there is a thick layer of fat on the outside called the cap. Although many cooks would disagree with this, I remove most of the fat cap before marinating the meat. The logic in keeping the fat cap is that as the meat is cooking this fat is rendered and self-bastes the meat. This hopefully keeps the meat more moist. I disagree for a several reasons. First, Jan has trouble digesting the fat. Second, this fat prevents the marinade from working its wonders on almost half of the meat’s surface. Thirdly, this dripping fat causes flare-ups that tend to scorch the meat. And finally, none of us needs all of that dense animal fat. We are all watching our figures [constantly expand].
After Dinner Note: How much of a dish remains after a meal is a good way for a cook to judge how their dinners really feel about your cooking. For this meal, I made enough for 6-8 people and we had five at dinner, with my nephew coming later. A series of before and after pictures tell you all you need to know.
Karl’s Greek Barbequed Lamb
½ leg of lamb (about 4lb., boned and butterflied)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
15 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbs. fresh oregano, chopped fine
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1 tsp. honey
½ tsp. Kosher salt
1. The day before your dinner, put all the ingredients (except the lamb) in a bowl and make a paste.
2. Spread the half of the marinade on the inside surface of the lamb. Roll the meat up and place it into a gallon plastic bag. Pour half of the remaining marinade over the meat and then rotate it in the bag. Pour the rest of the marinade in and spread it around until all of the meat is coated.
3. Press all of the air out of the bag and seal it well.
4. Put the lamb in the refrigerator and turn it over every 4 to 6 hours.
5. Two hours before you dinner, line a baking pan with an insert-able wire rack with aluminum foil and then insert the wire rack.
7. Lay the lamb flat on the rack, cut side up, and cover the pan with a second sheet of foil. Leave the pan on the counter to let the meat come to room temperature.
Note: I had to cut my lamb in two to make it fit in one layer.
8. Forty minutes before dinner, set your oven rack to the second highest level and preheat your broiler for 10 minutes.
9. Remove the top sheet of foil and broil the lamb, on high (broil), for 10 minutes.
10. Flip the meat over and insert a constant-read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the lamb.
11. Set the temperature on the thermometer alarm to 140° F.
12. Broil the lamb until the alarm goes off, about 10-15 minutes.
13. Remove the lamb from the oven and tent your meat with the foil.
14. Rest the lamb for 10 minutes and then slice across the grain.
Tip: As the lamb rests the residual heat will continue to raise the internal temperature until it reaches 160°F. If you like your lamb rare, leave the thermometer in and remove the foil when it reaches 155° F.