Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Salsa Verde

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Chef Select Nova Scotia

Serves 4-6

For the paste:

4 strips of prosciutto

4 anchovy fillets

1 handful flat leaf parsley, washed and dried

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 kg (4lb) leg of lamb, butterflied

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar for drizzling

salt and black pepper


For the salsa verde:

3 handfuls flat-leaf parsley, washed and dried

10 fresh basil leaves, washed and dried

10 fresh mint leaves, washed and dried

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

1 tbsp (15ml) creamy Dijon mustard

1 tbsp (15ml) drained capers

3 anchovy fillets

1 / 2 tsp (2 ml) red wine vinegar

1/3 cup (75 ml) olive oil

salt and black pepper

*2 x 35cm (14in) metal skewers

Place the prosciutto, anchovies, parsley, garlic and vinegar in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Place lamb, skin side down, on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut 1cm (1/2in) slits across lamb, about 5cm (2in) apart. Push paste deep into the slits. (At this stage lamb can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to one day. Allow lamb to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.) Salsa verde can also be made a day in advance and refrigerated. To make salsa verde, place parsley, basil, mint, garlic, mustard, capers, anchovies, vinegar and oil in a food processor and blend to a purée. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature to allow flavours to mingle, or if making in advance, wrap and refrigerate.

Preheat oven broiler. Place lamb flat on a cutting board and insert skewers diagonally from opposite corners through butterflied lamb. Heat broiler to high. Place lamb on a wire rack over a baking tray. Broil, turning once, for 10 minutes on the first side, 20 minutes on the second (for medium rare). Drizzle balsamic vinegar on both sides during cooking. Remove to a board, cover with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve lamb warm with a spoonful of salsa verde.

Kitchen notes:

-‘Butterflied’ leg of lamb means the bone is removed and the cut is flattened. This makes the meat easier to manoeuvre when grilling, and it cuts cooking time down dramatically when roasting in the oven.

-If you’re a spring-time barbecuer, take the lamb outside to cook. Barbecue over medium heat, turning once, for 15 minutes per side for medium rare, 20 minutes per side for well-done. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on both sides during cooking.

-Metal skewers aren’t essential in this dish, but they do make manoeuvring the lamb while turning during cooking easier. And extra set of hands and sturdy tongs will also do the trick.

-Serve lamb with potatoes of any kind and a vegetable – green peas are perfect with this dish.

Recipe Courtesy of Select Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture

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