Wood Fired Leg of Lamb
I Love to Play With Fire!
There is something very special that happens to me when I decide to diss the kitchen stove in favor of my Pizza Oven or even just an improvised simple fire-pit. My father taught me at a very young age that cooking on a live wood flame is one of the best ways to respect your food, to connect with it and celebrate it with due diligence. To me now, sourcing a piece of meat, selecting from the garden the fresh herbs I will season it with and finally getting my hands busy rubbing it and preparing it for the fire, is the best way to channel my own family traditions and at the same time it offers me the opportunity of reflecting on my good fortune.
I go to Temple in respect to my Jewish father, I attend Christmas Mass because I love my mother, but there is nothing is this World (except my wife and daughters) that makes me believe in a Higher Power more than a burning hot wood fire and a good piece of meat!
Prep Time: 10 min / Cooking Time: 1.5 hours / Serves:8
Heat your wood fired oven two hours before cooking. You want it to be a medium high heat- about 400 degrees.
Add the rosemary, garlic, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a mortar and pestle and smash until it reaches a paste. Place the lamb on a sheet tray and rub the paste all over the lamb, getting into every inch of space.
Place lamb on a sheet tray or roasting pan outfitted with a wire rack. Put in oven and roast until the lamb reaches 145 degrees, about 1.5 hours.
Allow the lamb to rest for 20 minutes before carving so the juices will redistribute. Carve against the grain using the bone as a handle. Place slices on a platter and garnish with rosemary sprigs and lemon. Serve with simple arugula salad.
COOK’S NOTE: If time allows, you can marinate the lamb for at least 4 hours or overnight. Recipe can be prepared in a regular kitchen oven following the same directions. The most important thing is to find a balance between a nice crispy crust on the outside and a moist pink meat inside. Open the oven every so often to rub the meat and turn it around, play with it and be confident... this recipe is extremely easy and you cannot really mess it up. (well, unless you burn it).