Recipes & tips: Almond crusted roast lamb

August 17th, 2006

Gigot! Festive and easy is the best description for this variation on simply roasting a lamb leg for a special occasion dinner. An herb-crumb crust made with ground almonds seals in the juices as the gigot roasts.

Ingredients:

1 small leg of lamb, about 4 1/2 lbs/2 kg. (to serve 5 or 6)
1/4 c./56 ml olive oil, sea salt & freshly ground pepper.

For the crust: 1 egg beaten with 2 T. Dijon mustard (do not use a sweet mustard)
8 T./160 ml cream mixed with 1/2 cup crushed or ground almonds
5 T./90 grams fine breadcrumbs mixed with chopped thyme & sage

Preparation: Preheat oven to 426°f/210°c. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, rub the leg with seasoning and brown the lamb on all sides. Transfer it to a roasting pan. Make the crust by mixing the ingredients together. Then spread this paste over the lamb. Insert a meat thermometer and roast for 45 to 60 minutes, depending on how rare you prefer the lamb. Before serving, allow 10 minutes for the meat to rest before carving. Serve with your choice of seasonal vegetables, steamed or creamed, and a light rice pilaf. With each serving, include a strip of crust on top or beside the lamb. Garnish with flowering thyme, sage leaves or sprigs of lavender.

This recipe is adapted from La France Gourmande, the May Fête de l’Agneau in Pauillac, Gironde. A fine Médoc red, a Pauillac or St. Julien, is always a good wine choice for gigot.

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