Leg of baby lamb nicoise

  • Time cooking time: 40-60 minutes
  • Yield Serves 6

Ingredients

    3 lemons
    16 baby artichokes
    2 legs of baby lamb, 2 1/2 pounds each
    1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    2 sprigs fresh thyme
    1 bay leaf
    1/2 cup onion, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, chopped
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 teaspoon honey
    8 plum tomatoes, cored, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeds discarded
    1/4 cup black Nicoise olives, pitted
    1 tablespoon italian parsley, chopped
    Zest lemons and cut into julienne. Make juice with two.

Preparation

    Zest lemons and cut into julienne. Make juice with two.
    Using a lemon zester or a microplane, remove the very top layer of lemon skin and as little as possible of the spongy white pith lying just beneath. All of the aromatic and tasty oils reside in that top layer, while the pith starts to get pretty bitter. Blanch lemon zest in boiling water. Strain and set aside.
    Remove the outer leaves of the baby artichokes. Cut off leaves 1 inch above the hearts, and trim the bottoms until round and smooth. Halve the artichokes lengthwise and toss them in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Set aside.
    Remove lamb hip bone and fat. Season with pepper and salt. Heat oil in a roasting pan.
    Brown lamb on all sides. Add thyme, bay leaf, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and artichokes. Stir well.
    Roast in 425 degree oven 25 to 30 minutes tossing vegetables every 10 minutes.
    Brush the legs with the honey, pour 2 tablespoons lemon juice over meat with lemon zest. Mix well and roast for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and roast for 15 minutes.
    Remove from oven when done. For rare inside temperature of lamb is 130 to 140 degrees, medium-rare, 145-155, and for well done, above 170 degrees.
    Transfer lamb to a platter. Add 2 tablespoons water to vegetable mix. Taste for seasonings. Crush pitted olives with a mallet.
    Carve lamb, surround with vegetables. Sprinkle with olives.
Notes
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