With the summer grilling season at its peak I’d be remiss if I didn’t urge you to try one of my backyard barbecue favorites… rosemary, cracked pepper & mint grilled leg of lamb. Last Easter I rhapsodized to you over the flavor of grilled Colorado lamb chops but it can be challenging grilling a bunch of individual chops for a large group so the best alternative when you have lots of guest is a boneless, butterflied leg of lamb. Grilling a succulent leg of lamb couldn’t be easier. It is marinated a day ahead, grilled over high heat to set a nice crust, and then finished in lower heat until cooked to medium rare.
I’ve prepared this many times and always get the same surprised response from my guests about how mild the flavor is and how tender the meat is.
This is due to two reasons. Firstly, Colorado lamb is the best on the planet and, secondly, this form of cooking ensures that it will be tender, juicy and incredibly flavorful. The added plus here is that lamb is excellent when served just at room temperature so you don’t have to scramble around at the last minute trying to make sure it’s served hot right off the grill. In fact, as with all grilled and roasted meats and poultry, it’s best when allowed to rest for a while before cutting and serving, but hey, I’m not telling you grill masters anything you don’t already know right?
I’m also including a recipe for a classic French potato dish that I think begs to be served with grilled lamb. In France this dish is known as ‘Gratin Dauphinois’ which is a classic potato dish from the south eastern region of France. Yeah I know, what’s a regional French dish doing in a regional American restaurant blog? Well years ago I morphed the classic American ‘au gratin potatoes’ that I grew up with into this version and there’s simply no other potato dish that compares. It’s a rich and indulgent dish scented with fresh garlic, nutty gruyère cheese and lots of heavy cream… get over it.
Recipe – Grilled Marinated Boneless Leg of Lamb
» 3 TBS Olive oil
» 1/8 cup Chopped rosemary
» 2 TBS Chopped fresh mint
» 6 each Garlic cloves, chopped
» 1 each Boneless leg of lamb, 2½ to 3 pounds, not-rolled and tied, lamb should be butterflied so it is relatively the same thickness
» 1 TBS Kosher salt
» 1 TBS Cracked black pepper
Place first 4 ingredients in large ziplock bag and stir to combine. Add lamb, close back securely and toss until lamb is well coated on all sides. Place in fridge for 3-4 hours. Remove from fridge, place on large platter, and season both sides with salt & pepper. Allow to sit for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare charcoal fire or heat if using propane grill. Drain any excess oil off the lamb so as to avoid flare-ups and carefully place it fat side up on the hottest part of the grill. Turn the lamb frequently until you achieve a nice crusty char on all sides, including the fat side.
Move to a cool side of the grill, cover, and allow to cook until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees (for medium rare) in the center when probed with an instant read thermometer. Remove from heat, place on platter, cover lightly with foil and allow to sit 15 minutes. Slice into ¼” slices and serve with potato gratin and arugula salad.
Recipe – Gruyere & Garlic Potato Gratin
» 3 each Russet potatoes
» 1 cup Shredded gruyere cheese
» 2-3 each Garlic cloves, minced
» 2 TBS Butter
» As needed Kosher salt
» As needed White pepper
» 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
Butter the bottom of an 8″ pie pan with 1 tablespoon butter and sprinkle 1/3 of the garlic around the bottom. Peel russet potatoes and using a mandolin or food processor slice them into 1/8 slices. Working quickly so the potatoes to not discolor, layer the bottom of the plate with the potatoes, then sprinkle lightly with gruyere and about a 1/8 teaspoon of salt and white pepper. Repeat this layering process adding minced garlic in every other layer until plate is filled.
Pour heavy cream over entire top of the potatoes and dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cover lightly with foil and continue to bake until tender then you push a paring knife through the center to the bottom. Allow to sit 20 minutes before serving.