Leg of lamb is often roasted, but grilling gives this tender cut a crispy exterior while leaving the interior juicy and rosy. Butterflying the leg creates an uneven surface that nicely traps the olive oil and seasoning rubbed over it. Serve the lamb alongside grilled asparagus for a springtime feast.
Grilled Leg of Lamb with Lime-Chive Creme Fraiche
1 leg of lamb, about 5 lb. (2.5 kg), butterflied, flattened and trimmed of excess fat
Olive oil for coating
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/2 lb. (750 g) asparagus spears
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup (8 oz/250 g) creme fraiche
Grated zest of 1 lime
4 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbs. finely snipped fresh chives
Place the lamb on a rimmed platter or in a baking dish. Rub generously all over with oil and then with the thyme, working it into all the nooks and crannies. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Snap off the bottom ends of the asparagus spears 1-1 1/2 inches (2.5-4 cm) above the base. Peel the bottom 2 inches (5 cm) of the spears with a vegetable peeler. This helps the spears cook evenly and gives them a luminous jade-green color.
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the lamb generously with salt and pepper. If using a gas grill, reduce the heat to medium; if using a charcoal grill, raise the grill rack. Place the lamb on the grill rack with the uneven side down and grill for 15 minutes. Move the lamb if there are excessive flare-ups; a little flame is fine. Turn the lamb and grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the lamb at the thickest point registers 125°F-130°F (52°C-54°C), 15-20 minutes more. Because of the irregular thickness of the meat, some parts will be rare and others well done. Transfer to a platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
Place the asparagus spears perpendicular to the bars of the grill rack and cook, turning, until golden brown but not scorched and just tender, 4-8 minutes.
In a bowl, stir together the creme fraiche, lime zest and juice, and chives. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and season with pepper.
Cut the lamb across the grain into thin slices. Arrange on a warmed platter with the asparagus. Serve at once with the lime-chive creme fraiche. Serves 6.
Recipe from The Cook & the Butcher, by Brigit Binns.