Indian-Spiced Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Roasted Onion Relish

Timing mysteries and guesswork do not exist with this method of cooking a leg of lamb because, since the leg is opened, boned, and flattened out, you can see everything that is going on when it is cooking, and it cooks more or less evenly like a steak.

A 6-pound leg of lamb when butterflied gives you a nearly 4- to 5-pound boned leg. When it is cooked, all you have to do is slice it on a board, and serve it on the board or on a hot platter.


  • 1 6-pound leg of lamb, butterflied
  • ½ cup Indian spice mix
  • 4 medium roasted onions, cooking juices saved
  • 1 small salt-preserved lemon; or lemon flesh and zest from 3 lemons, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 12 mild (Moroccan) black olives, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup extra virgin green olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon orange- or rose-flower water (or half each)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt


Rub the spice mix into the lamb and let it sit refrigerated 6 hours or more.

Chop up the onions, put in a bowl with their saved juices, and add the salted lemon, rosemary, olives, lime juice, cardamom, chicken stock, and extra virgin olive oil. Mix together and taste for salt. Stir in the flavored water(s).

Wipe the marinade off the lamb, rub the sides with the olive oil, season, and grill over a low to medium fire (broil or bake in a 375-degree oven) for about 15 minutes on each side, until it is medium rare. Let sit on the cool side of the fire for 10 minutes to rest, and then carve across the leg in ¼-inch slices. Serve with the sauce passed separately.


Cooking the lamb in a pan in the oven also gives you pan juices, and some might argue that this lamb needs no other sauce. But if you use the oven method and have the pan juices, the lamb is certainly not ruined by adding the juices (without the fat) to a sage béarnaise sauce or a béarnaise into 1 cup of which is mixed 1 tablespoon of chopped salt-preserved lemon, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves, and 1 teaspoon of orange-flower water.