At the Santa Monica Farmers Market, prices for organic pastured lamb from Jimenez Family Farm range from $4 for bones to $30 for a rack of lamb. Joe Jock gives Laura Avery the lowdown on how their lambs are raised on the ranch in Santa Ynez. Joe says he’s seeing an uptick in sales so don’t be surprised if you see more grass-fed lamb ending up on the plate.
Lamb and herbs are universal symbols of spring and renewal and are well-suited to being used as part of a Passover or May 1 Greek Easter dinner. Use a bone-in leg of lamb or for faster cooking, lamb that has been de-boned and butterflied, which means opened like a book. The salsa verde in this recipe makes for a great way to use up leftover herbs from a Passover Seder. Try out a mix of green things — celery leaves, thyme, snipped chives, garlic chives and so on.
Amelia Saltsman’s Roasted Leg of Lamb with Salsa Verde
1 (5 lb) leg of lamb, bone-in (or 3 to 4 pounds, butterflied)
1 bunch fresh parsley, leaves only (or use a mix of herbs and alliums to equal 1 cup)
1 cup olive oil
1 tin oil-packed anchovies
6 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup capers, chopped
1 to 2 lemons, to taste
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
A generous pinch of red pepper flakes, such as Espelette from Roan Mills
Prepare the lamb: Make 8 to 12 shallow slashes using a knife on the surface of the lamb. Season the lamb generously on all sides with salt and pepper and transfer to a large roasting pan.
Prepare the salsa verde: Chop enough parsley leaves (or a mix of herbs) to make 1 lightly packed cup. Heat olive oil in small sauce pan over medium-low heat until it thins and shimmers. Remove from heat. Add the anchovies and mash them with a fork until they dissolve in the warm oil. Stir in the parsley, garlic, capers and red pepper flakes. Zest 1 of the lemons into the sauce, along with the juice of half a lemon. The salsa should be slightly tangy; if not, add more lemon juice, to taste. You should have about 1¾ cups of salsa verde. If not using immediately, store the salsa at room temperature away from sunlight.
Marinate the lamb: Spoon out a ½ cup of the salsa verde and slather evenly over all surfaces of the lamb, making sure to rub the sauce into the slashes. Cover the meat and let stand in a cool place for 1 hour, or in the refrigerator up to 6 hours. Be sure to bring the meat to room temperature before roasting.
Roast the lamb: Preheat oven to 425ºF degrees. Roast the lamb (12 minutes per pound for rare, or 15 for medium), turning once to cook evenly. Remove the meat to a warmed platter, tent with foil and let stand before slicing, 10 minutes for a butterflied leg, or 15 to 20 minutes for a bone-in roast.
Prepare the jus: Add a little water or wine to the roasting pan and deglaze over medium-low heat, scraping up brown bits. Strain into a bowl and skim off fat. Taste the jus and add lemon, water, salt, or fresh pepper as needed.
To serve: Pour the jus around the roast lamb and pass around with the remaining salsa verde.