Dressing up an old favorite

As you may remember, my family loves “wool steak”-also known as lamb. We love it though I admittedly have been less than adventurous with its’ preparation. Due to the picky eaters in my household, I almost always prepare it butterflied and marinated in a mustard/wine sauce (see the archives) because I know that everyone will eat it, no questions asked. And, while it is delicious prepared as such, every now and again I crave a little variety with my wool steak! It would be so nice to have another way to dress it up!

So, I was thrilled last week when Mark Bittman’s column in The New York Times Food Section gave a recipe for a butterflied leg of lamb (our favorite cut) and coated it with a persillade-a puree made mostly of parsley. The recipe looked good and fast-always a plus-but I thought that I could tweak it and make it better. Then maybe, just maybe, my family could gain a new dinner option as well!

Now, it just so happens that my sister and her brood are visiting. They also love lamb- though need no PR to eat it! So on Saturday, as I shopped at the Farmer’s Market and thought about a yummy Sunday dinner for a crowd, I realized that there would never be a better time to try a new preparation of lamb. If my kids were resistant at first, they might be shamed into trying it because of “cousin pressure.” I was going to milk this visit for all that it was worth!

The Farmer’s Market had spectacular cilantro and basil. I bought copius amounts of both. I bought a medium butterflied leg of lamb from the butcher and knew that I was of to the races! I made a puree of cilantro, basil and other spices and coated the interior of the lamb. I folded it, coated the outside, popped it in the oven and waited. The house filled with the wonderful aroma and the kids started to ask when dinner was being served.

As we sat down to my version of Lamb Non-Persillade -made completely without parsley- no one said anything about the green coated meat on the plates before them. Julia gamely dug in, followed by Harrison, Charlotte and Alexander. The table was strangely quiet. I waited for the revolt. It never came. Everyone was too busy happily chewing. The lamb on their plates disappeared quickly and seconds were doled out. Ah, how nice it is to have a change of outfit for my wool steak!

Persillade Inspired Lamb
adapted from Mark Bittman
Serves 6-8
4 lb leg of lamb, butterflied
3 c. fresh cilantro leaves
3 c fresh basil
6 T fresh rosemary
1 T grainy mustard
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 T grated fresh parmesan
1/3 c olive oil
Preheat oven to 425.

In the bowl of a food processor place all the herbs, mustard, garlic and parmesan. Pulse to combine. With the processor running, pour the olive oil in slowly through the feed tube.

Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper on both sides, then turn so that the side that had been on the bone, the one with the more irregular surface, is facing up, with the wider end facing you. Smear the surface of the lamb with most of the herb mixture, then fold it in half (there will be a kind of natural hinge) with the herbs on the inside. Smear the remaining herb mixture on the outside of the lamb and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the lamb in a roasting pan and roast for 40-45 minutes for rare to medium rare meat, or until a thermometer in the thickest part of the meat reaches 135 degrees. Remove lamb from oven and let rest for several minutes before carving.



  1. Christopher Mines
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Glad the cousins could make a contribution, and get a new fave out of the deal too.

  2. Betsy L
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Yum – sounds delicious and I look forward to dining with all of you this Friday and Saturday night!

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