Crusted Lamb with Mint Pesto
In a fresh approach to pesto sauce, mint and parsley replaces the traditional basil.
2 cups lightly packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup lightly packed chopped parsley
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnut pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Dash freshly ground pepper
1 (6 to 7 pounds) leg of lamb, trimmed of fat, boned, and butterflied
- In a food processor or blender, combine mint, parsley, 2 cloves of the garlic, oil, cheese, pine nuts, lemon juice, and pepper. Whirl to make a coarse paste, scraping down sides of the container often.
- Cut remaining garlic clove into thin slivers. Cut small slashes in surface of lamb and insert garlic slivers. Spread boned side of meat with about two-thirds of the mint pesto. Roll meat to enclose filling; tie snugly every 1 1/2-inches with cotton string. Spread remaining mint pesto over meat.
- Prepare barbecue for indirect grilling: Ignite about 50 charcoal briquettes in a barbecue with a lid. When the coals are covered with gray ash (after 30 to 40 minutes), push an equal number to opposite sides of the grate or arrange them around the grate's perimeter. Evenly distribute 5 or 6 briquettes on the coals, then set a foil drip pan on the grate between the coals. Place grill 4 to 6-inches above the coals.
- Set meat on lightly greased grill above drip pan. Cover barbecue and adjust vents as needed to maintain an even heat.
- Cook until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of meat registers 135°F to 140°F (60°C) for rare, about 1 1/2 hours.
- To serve, cut meat across the grain into thin slices; discard strings.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.