Easter Sunday was a dreary day here in Wisconsin. We started a fire, probably the final one for this season, and spent the whole day cleaning and cooking. I liked the cooking part, not the cleaning. Our animals shed and produce so much pet dander; we should vacuum every other day. Now, I say should, because we absolutely do not vacuum that often; we’re lazy. However, I figured since we were entertaining, and it was a holiday, we should make the house look presentable.
I wanted to cook something nice for Easter with the In-laws. I decided upon a Hazelnut and Thyme-Crusted leg of lamb as the main course, with sides of potatoes au gratin and honey-cumin roasted carrots and fennel. Finally for dessert, the piece de resistance, Coconut and Calamondin Cake.
I had been debating between ham and lamb, as I enjoy both, and both are appropriate for an Easter dinner. I tend to always choose ham, as I love it soooo much; but, this time around I opted for the leg of lamb, and boy, was it worth it.
The lamb was left out before cooking so as to bring it to room temperature. this insures that the lamb cooks evenly, and from what I’ve read, is pretty important. I wanted to season my lamb with chopped hazelnuts and thyme for added flavor and flair. The toasted hazelnuts were incredibly flavorful paired with the lamb.
I paired the lamb with a mint-yogurt gremolata. Gremolata is a simple, herb condiment paired with meat; traditionally containing parsley, lemon, and garlic. I’ve always known that when making lamb you must pair it wit mint in some way. I’m not entirely sure when this pairing started, but it’s delicious. I decided to add mint to my gremolata sauce and mix with whole greek yogurt. The mint and yogurt paired together nicely, creating a cool, tasty accompaniment to the lamb.
For a nice crust to form on the outside, cook the lamb at 400 degrees for the first 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temp to 350. Cook 20 minutes per pound until lamb reaches desired temperature. I prefer my lamb medium-rare, so I pulled it out of the oven when the thermometer read 130 degrees, as the temperature goes up a little while resting. For medium, take the lamb out around 140 degrees, for medium-well, 150.
- 1 4-5 lb boneless leg of lamb
- 1 cup hazelnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup thyme
- 1 cup whole greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup italian parsley
- 1/2 cup mint
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 shallot
- salt + pepper
Leave leg of lamb out before baking, for at least an hour, so as to bring to room temperature
Preheat oven to 400
Mix hazelnuts and thyme, spread evenly over top of lamb
Bake in roasting pan at 400 for 20 minutes
Reduce heat to 350 and bake 20 minutes per pound, or until thermometer reads 130-135 for medium-rare
Let rest for 15 minutes before carving
In a food processor, mix cilantro, mint, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, shallot, and salt + pepper
Hand mix with yogurt, chill until ready to serve