the appetizer:

Things Cooks Love by Sur La Table and Marie Simmons explores the best kitchen tools, including the Cast Iron Skillet and Portuguese Cataplana, provides information on world cuisines, from The Asian Pantry to The Moroccan Pantry, and offers recipes like Clam, Pork, Sausage, and Bacon Stew and Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb.

Cookbook Profile

Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb


Prep 25 min | Marinating 2 hr or overnight | cook time 25 min | serves 8

For entertaining, almost nothing beats a butterflied leg of lamb. Its preparation is simpler than simple, and the cooking time is short. Plus, great meals can be planned around the leftovers, including a Greek-style sandwich of sliced lamb, crumbled feta, sliced cucumbers, and tomatoes, or a salad of bulgur, chopped romaine, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic topped with sliced lamb. Serve the grilled lamb with with Bulgur Pilaf (page 85 of the book) and Marinated Grilled Zucchini (page 71).


Large Mortar and Pestle, Rimmed Sheet Pan or Large Baking Dish, Paring Knife, Instant-Read Thermometer, Cutting Board, Carving Knife, Small Saucepan


1. In a large, heavy mortar, combine the garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Pound the garlic to a paste, stirring it with the other ingredients until combined. Alternatively, grate or press the garlic onto a plate and use a fork to mash the other ingredients into the garlic until blended.

2. Place the lamb on a rimmed sheet pan or in a large baking dish. With your fingertips, rub half of the garlic paste on the surface of the lamb, spreading it evenly into all of the crevices. Turn the lamb over and repeat on the other side.

3. Thinly slice and seed 1 lemon and spread the slices on the lamb. Halve the remaining lemon and squeeze the juice over the surface of the lamb. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 1 hour before grilling or broiling.

4. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium. Scrape the lemon slices off the lamb and reserve. Grill the lamb for 10 to 12 minutes per side for the thickest piece and for 8 minutes per side for the thinner pieces, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 140 degrees F for medium-rare. Toward the end of the grilling time, arrange the lemon slices on the grill and heat just until golden. Reserve the lemon slices for garnishing the lamb.

5. Alternatively, the lamb can be broiled: Position an oven rack in the top of the oven so that the top of the broiler pan will be about 5 inches from the heat source, and preheat the broiler. Place the lamb on a broiler pan and broil using the same time and internal temperature guidelines used for grilling. Toward the end of the broiling time, place the lemon slices on the surface of the lamb and broil just until golden. Reserve the lemon for garnishing the lamb.

6. Transfer the meat to a wooden board and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Carve the meat across the grain into thin slices. Arrange the slices on a warmed serving platter in neat overlapping rows. Pour the meat juices and the seasonings that have accumulated on the board into a small saucepan, reheat briefly, and pour over the meat slices. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and the grilled or broiled lemon slices and serve at once.

Tip: Leg of Lamb, Anatomically Speaking

Because a butterflied leg of lamb is a rather free-form mass of muscle and flesh, and thus thicker in some spots than others, there is no way to grill or broil it in one piece successfully. The solution is to divide the lamb into pieces following the anatomy of the leg. To do this, position the lamb, smooth side down, on a cutting board and divide it following the natural separations. Then turn the pieces of lamb over and make sure the butcher has trimmed off all but a thin layer of fat. If not, use a thin, sharp knife or a boning knife to trim away any excess.


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This page created May 2008