Look at the window. Do you see something flying out of it? It’s my (self-imposed) January red meat ban. So far since the New Year has dawned I have had bacon, fillet steak and now lamb. Oh well. C’est la vie. This lamb was definitely worth breaking the resolution for and I’ll be good all week to make up for it. In fact, I already have some chick peas in soak and some chicken casserole in the pot.
The juxtaposition of lamb and anchovies may sound odd if you’ve never encountered it before but believe me, it works. The salty anchovies play beautifully against the sweet lamb – which must be pink – and classic rosemary/garlic rub. Buy the best piece of lamb you can afford. It’s far better to give people a few slices of top quality meat than a larger pile of a poorer substitute. It’s very simple to do and will add that WOW! factor to your Sunday roast or dinner party main course.
2lb piece of lamb (I used a half leg)
½ jar good quality anchovies
2 sprigs rosemary
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp oil
To make the rub, first crush the garlic and finely chop the rosemary. I find using a mezzaluna is the by far the easiest method for this. Put them in a small heavy bottomed pan with the oil and the anchovies. Heat slowly, stirring all the while. The anchovies will gradually melt. Once this has happened allow the mixture to cool. Next make large, wide slits in the lamb. Use a knife with a long, thin blade like a filleting knife. Push the knife all the way through and once it’s in, twist it all the way round – you want to be able to get your anchovy/garlic/rosemary rub right into the centre of the joint. Space the holes evenly over the joint, about an inch apart. Then pick up chick pea sized pieces of the rub and push it right down into the slits. Don’t be afraid of it, show it whose boss! Save a little of the mixture to rub on the exterior of the meat but get the rest into the lamb. Wrap the joint in foil and allow to marinade for an hour or however long you have. Cook on gas mark 6 for 20 mins at the top of the oven and then remove the foil. Place it back in the oven on gas mark 8 for ten more minutes. Allow to rest for five mins before carving. This length of cooking time gives a a medium rare joint. If you wish to ruin the meat cook it well done, add another ten mins at the foil cooking stage.