Barbecued leg of lamb with herb butter & zucchini, tomato & olive salad

by Ginny Grant | Cuisine issue #155
Serves: 6-8Sometimes an informal Christmas dinner is called for and a barbecued boned leg of lamb fits the bill - it's delicious and a fail-safe crowd-pleaser

You can vary the hard herbs in the marinade and omit the chilli if you prefer. Grill the zucchini for the salad while the lamb is resting.

2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed hard herbs, such as fresh thyme, rosemary and oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon chilli flakes (or more if you like extra heat)
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1.5kg-2kg butterflied leg of lamb
1 clove garlic, mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt
4 tablespoons finely chopped soft herbs such as parsley, chives, rocket etc
25g butter, softened

Combine the hard herbs with the chilli flakes, oil and half the lemon juice. Rub all over the lamb then refrigerate for 2-4 hours to marinate. Remove from the fridge an hour before you plan on cooking.

Light the barbecue and allow it to reach medium heat. Season the lamb with salt and freshly ground black pepper then put it directly onto the grill or hot plate. If you are using a kettle or covered grill it is unnecessary to turn the meat, but if you are using a hot plate you will need to turn it over halfway through cooking. I like my lamb cooked medium-rare so I cook it for 30-35 minutes for a small leg (around 1.5kg) and 40-45 minutes for a larger leg (around 2kg).

Meanwhile, mix together the garlic, soft herbs, remaining lemon juice and butter to make the herb butter.

Remove the lamb from the barbecue and put into a baking dish. Smear with the herb butter then cover with baking paper and a clean tea towel and rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Wine - A Waiheke Island syrah.

Zucchini, tomato & olive salad
2 tablespoons marjoram leaves
juice of 1⁄2 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
|1kg zucchini, ends trimmed, thinly sliced lengthways (use a mandoline if you like)
2 large tomatoes, halved, deseeded, chopped
3 tablespoons pitted black olives

Pound the marjoram in a mortar with a little salt until a smooth paste forms. Stir in the lemon juice and oil and transfer to a bowl.

Grill the zucchini on the barbecue over medium heat for a few minutes each side or until just cooked. You may need to do this in batches.

As each zucchini piece is ready, transfer it to the bowl containing the dressing. Toss to combine then add the tomatoes and olives. Taste and season then serve.

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