A recipe is merely words on paper; a guideline, a starting point from which to improvise. It cannot pretend to replace the practiced hand and telling glance of a watchful cook. For that reason, this is also an account of what happens when I make this dish, so you’ll understand each step. Of course when you cook it once, it becomes yours, so personalize it a bit. Add more of an ingredient you like or less of something you don’t like. Try substituting one ingredient for another. Remember words have no flavour, you have to add your own!
Directions for: Grilled Lamb with Dried Tomato Mint Tapenade
A boneless leg of lamb, boned
cup of olive oil
cup of dried oregano
garlic cloves, minced
the zest and juice of 2 lemons
cup of grainy mustard
cup dried tomatoes, preferably oil packed
cup Calamata style black olives, pitted
Tbsp of capers
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
anchovy fillets, more if you like
bunch of mint
1. Build a fire with a hard wood like maple or birch. Don’t use a soft wood such as pine because it produces a noxious tasting resinous smoke. If you can find it, use a fragrant fruitwood like cherry or apple. Let it burn down to glowing coals. Fit with a grill. Alternately, heat a gas barbeque to medium-high heat.
2. Butterfly the lamb by cutting it open into one piece through the center hole where the bone was removed. You may end up with two pieces, which is fine. The point is to make it easier to grill by making it thinner.
3. Whisk together the olive oil, oregano, garlic, lemon zest and juice, grainy mustard and pepper in a dish large enough to hold the leg of lamb. Mix well then add the lamb. Rub mixture over lamb and cover with plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour. For maximum flavour marinate overnight. You may also make the marinade in a smaller bowl and pour into a large Ziploc bag with the lamb, less mess!
4. Season the lamb with salt and place on the hot grill. For medium rare - grill for 15 minutes on one side then turn and grill on the other side for a further 10 minutes or so. The lamb should be medium rare. To double check feel free to cut a small slit into the thickest part and have a peek! Rest on a rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This will allow the meat that’s stressed out from the heat of the grill to relax and reabsorb the juices that are driven to the center of the cut. By letting it rest you won’t end up with a platter of juice and dry meat!
5. Slice thinly and serve with Dried Tomato Tapenade.
1. A tapenade is just a paste of seasoned olives. This version complements the brininess of the olives with salty anchovies and the bright flavours of dried tomatoes and airy mint. Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree until the mixture is well combined but not smooth. Store in a clean mason jar.