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MailTribune.com
  • Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Olive-Fennel Tapenade

  • 1 (21/2-pound) butterflied leg of lamb
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  • 1 (21/2-pound) butterflied leg of lamb
    3 to 4 cloves garlic
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    3/4 cup red wine
    1/2 pound pitted black olives in brine
    2 teaspoons minced garlic
    11/2 teaspoons fennel seed
    1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon Pernod
    1 tablespoon minced parsley
    If the lamb has been tied into a roll, untie it and lay it flat, skin-side down. There will be a range of thicknesses, with some areas fairly thin and some very thick. Slice partway through thickest portions to allow meat to lie flat.
    Slice the garlic into thin slivers. Turn lamb over so that the skin side is facing up.
    Use a paring knife to cut slits all over skin side roughly a 1/2 inch deep and 1/2 inch apart. Stuff a garlic sliver into each slit (it's easiest if you use knife tip to hold slit open; don't worry about everything being perfectly neat).
    Sprinkle both sides of meat with the salt and pepper and place it in a zip-lock bag. Pour the wine over lamb, press air from bag and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours to marinate.
    To make the tapenade, rinse the olives, shake them dry and place in bowl of a food processor. With a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and fennel seed into a coarse paste and add it to black olives, along with the vinegar and olive oil.
    Pulse into a coarse paste that holds together; add a little more olive oil if mixture is too dry. Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve. When almost ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and stir in the Pernod and parsley.
    When you're ready to cook, soak about 2 cups of wood chips in water to cover. Light the coals and when coals are glowing hot, empty them into one side of the grill, banked against the side. Drain wood chips and place on top of coals.
    Pat lamb dry with a paper towel and place it skin-side down over hottest part of fire. Sear lamb 3 to 5 minutes per side, until browned.
    Turn meat again and move it to a cooler part of the grill and cover. Cook 10 minutes on one side, turn and cook about another 10 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into a thick part of meat reads 115 degrees. Remove meat from grill and set aside 10 minutes to rest before carving against the grain. Serve with the tapenade.
    Makes 6 to 8 servings.
    NOTE: For grilling, use wine-cask, oak or cherry chips.
    From the May 30, 2007, Mail Tribune.
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