THIS IS the food Greeks associate with religious and family feasts—Easter, weddings and other joyous occasions—although now special occasions are not required to enjoy the dish. Fragrant with garlic and herbs, the lamb is basted with fresh lemon juice and white wine, both of which complement the flavor of the meat. The potatoes, cooked in the same pan, absorb all the flavors and become tender, with crispy tops.
American and New Zealand lamb is larger and leaner than Greek baby lamb, with darker meat that has a gamier flavor. In contrast, Greek spring lamb, which weighs only about 20 pounds, has very little meat and dries out easily. For larger legs, marinating the meat and inserting a mixture of garlic and herbs into the flesh is essential, as these cuts won’t otherwise absorb the flavors.
I like to bring the lamb to the table in the roasting pan, so I use a nice clay baking dish, which also holds the potatoes in one layer. Baked lamb is traditionally accompanied by a green salad, like the fragrant, finely shredded Mixed Green Salad from Lesbos.
With slices of leftover cold roast lamb,
In a small bowl, mix the garlic with the herbs, salt, pepper or pepper flakes and
Stir the remaining
Place the leg of lamb fat side down in a roasting pan large enough to hold the potatoes in a single layer and
Meanwhile, mix the lemon juice and
Transfer the lamb to a plate and add the potatoes to the pan, tossing them well to coat them with the pan juices. Place the lamb on the potatoes and continue roasting, basting often, for another 30 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reaches
If the pan juices are watery, transfer most of them to a saucepan and cook briefly to reduce. Meanwhile, return the pan to the oven and continue baking the potatoes until tender, with crusty tops.
Turn the oven to broil. Place the lamb on the potatoes again and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the surface is deep brown and crackling. Carve the lamb and serve, passing the pan juices in a bowl or sauceboat at the table.
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