We’ve been on an anchovy kick since our European getaway.
During our visit to Italy’s Corniglia, one of the five villages of Cinque Terre, we dined at the same restaurant both nights we were there because it was so. darn. good. We started each meal with a plate of fresh anchovies doused in olive oil and lemon juice. The following day, we even ordered some to go from a local market for a little picnic, slathering them upon fresh focaccia.
Naturally, we’ve been craving these salted silver slivers since the day we’ve left.
Since fresh anchovies are a Mediterranean jewel and not easily found in the states, we’ve been subtly incorporating them in our kitchen. Anchovy paste is now a staple within our marinara, and now we’re bringing them—at least their canned cousins—to our table for the holidays with this roasted leg of lamb.
And for those that cringe at the thought of anchovies, know that they add the most wonderfully rich and savory element to any dish that you’ll be wondering how you cooked without them during your pre-anchovy days.
P.S. Just to set the record straight, we don’t have anything against the ol’ turkey or ham, but why not mix things up for Christmas? Our thoughts exactly.
Roasted Leg of Lamb with Anchovy Butter
I N G R E D I E N T S
1 6-pound, bone-in leg of lamb
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves removed
1 2-oz can anchovies in olive oil, drained
1 head of garlic, cloves removed, peeled then crushed
3 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
Freshly ground black pepper
Mortar and pestle
M E T H O D
Preheat oven to 400.
With a very sharp knife, trim the last 2 inches of the meat off of the end of the leg, also known as Frenching. Tie twine from one end of the leg to the other, down the middle, then use a few strands of twine to secure the widest part of the leg.
Using a mortar and pestle, mash the rosemary leaves, anchovies and garlic into a paste. Add to a small bowl, then add the butter and mix until blended.
Spread the anchovy butter over top the leg of lamb in an even layer. Add a generous amount of black pepper all over to help form the crust.
Place the leg of lamb, buttered side up, onto the rack of a roasting pan. Pour enough wine into the roasting pan to cover the bottom. You’ll need to add more wine as it dries up to prevent drippings from burning in the pan.
Roast for 90 minutes, or until the lamb has reached an internal temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Baste the leg with the drippings every 15–20 minutes.
Once lamb has reached an internal temperature of 135 degrees, allow to rest for 20 minutes as the lamb continues to cook internally to reach a perfect medium-medium rare.