Preparation time: 30mins
Cooking time: 1 hour 30mins
Completely encasing a leg of lamb in a herby salty crust locks in the natural juices of the meat, which steam within as it bakes, to keep the meat lovely and tender. This steam dissolves some of the salt and essential oils from the herbs, which then permeate back into the meat to delicately enrich its flavour. A punchy green sauce of parsley, garlic, anchovy and sundried tomato then makes for a delicious accompaniment. So if you fanciy an alternative to the traditional roast, why not give this a go!
1 leg of native breed lamb, about 2kg
For the salt crust
750g plain flour
300g fine sea salt
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp ground black pepper
200ml (approx.) water
6 egg whites
2 egg yolks, beaten, for glazing
Your favourite veggies for roast lamb, we like Hassleback potatoes and kale
For the green sauce
80g flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
2 tbsp chopped sundried tomato
Zest of half a lemon
Juice of half a lemon
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt, to taste
Cheat: buy Chimichurri sauce and add anchovy and sundried tomato if desired
1. Preheat the oven to 240C. Lightly score the fat side of the lamb to help it render. Rub the lamb with some mild olive or veg oil. Place the lamb on a wire rack over a roasting tray, and into the preheated oven to sear. After 10mins, remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
2. Meanwhile make the salt crust. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the egg whites and enough of the water to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead for about 10mins until smooth. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for 10 mins.
4. Place the lamb in an oven preheated to 180C, until its internal temperature reads 52C – around 45 mins. Once at temperature, remove from the oven and allow to rest for around 25mins. During this time the internal temperature will continue to rise to around 64C which will be medium and slightly pink. Adjust cooking times if you prefer rarer or more well done.
6. Crack the salt crust with a rolling pin, or similar robust utensil, and discard. Transfer the lamb to a chopping board and carve thin slices. Serve with hassleback potatoes, blanched buttered kale, and a drizzle of the green sauce. (Any leftovers are also delicious served cold, drizzled with cinnamon spiced honey!) For maximum effect crack at the table like an Easter egg !
Meat, cut and sourced by The Butchery Ltd, Hebridean Lamb farmed with love by Ruth & Norman Cole, Round Oak, Kent