When you carve this crusted roast, zesty ribbons of garlic-herb stuffing are revealed running through each slice. And any leftovers make terrific sandwiches. To grill the lamb instead of roasting it, use a boneless, butterflied leg and make shallow incisions for the filling.
Rapini, also called broccoli raab, or broccoli rabe, cime di rapa, and broccoli di rapa, is a cool-weather Italian favorite. It has tender stems (check that they don’t look fibrous), small florets, and ruffled leaves that distinguish it from sweeter Chinese broccoli, with its large, leathery leaves, and from sprouting, or “baby,” broccoli, which has small, oblong leaves. A quick toss on the grill adds sweet smokiness to its pleasing bitter edge. In addition to being a great accompaniment to lamb, pork, and game birds, it is wonderful as an appetizer on bruschetta, in a grilled cheese sandwich, or mixed with cannellini beans.
- Lamb Roast – 1. 5 pounds
- Cloves of Garlic – 5 peeled
- Salt – 1 teaspoon
- Pitted Black Olives – 3/4 cup (optional)
- Parsley Leaves or Mint – 1/2 cup, coarsely chopped
- Rosemary Leaves – 1/4 cup, finely chopped, (plus sprigs for pan)
- Dry White Wine or Stock – 1 cup
- For the Charred Rapini
- Rapini – 1 bunch
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – 1 tablespoons
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper – to taste
- Cut at least 8-10 slashes, each 1 to 2 inches deep and 2 inches long, in the lamb roast, spacing them evenly. With a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic with the salt. Add the olives (optional) and herbs in batches, adding a little olive oil with each addition (using up to 1/4 cup total), and mash to make a textured paste. Or, with a food processor running, drop the garlic through the feed tube to mince. Add the salt, olives, herbs and 1/4 cup of the oil and pulse to make a textured paste. Stuff the garlic paste into the slashes, and don’t worry about being too neat. Rub the remaining 1/4 cup of olive over the lamb and season with pepper. Lay the rosemary sprigs in a roasting pan just large enough to hold the roast, and place the lamb on the rosemary. Cover and let stand in a cool place for 1 hour or in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours. Bring to room temperature before roasting.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roast the lamb, turning once, for 12 minutes per pound for rare, and 15 minutes per pound for medium. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg away from bone should register 120 degrees for rare and 140 degrees for medium. (The temperature will continue to rise a few degrees outside the oven.) Remove the meat to a warmed platter, tent with foil, and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.
- Discard the rosemary from the pan, place the pan over medium-low heat, pour in the wine, and stir to scrape up any brown bits. Skim the fat from the surface, season with salt and pepper to taste, and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a warmed serving bowl. Add any juices that have collected on the meat platter. Carve long, thin slices with the grain. Serve with the sauce.
- For the Charred Rapini, trim away about 1 inch of the tough stem from the rapini stalks and discard. Cook in a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Drain the rapini and rinse (shock) in ice water to retain the color and stop the cooking. Drain again and toss with 3 tablespoons of the oil and salt and pepper.
- Heat a grill to medium-high. Spread the rapini over the grill. It will be kind of a tangle, which is fine, just get as much rapini as possible touching the hot rack directly. Grill, turning once, until the rapini leaves are charred, 2 to 3 minutes total. Remove to a cutting surface and chop coarsely. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve lamb and rapini with steamed rice.
- Chef’s Tip: Brian Wolff, former chef de cuisine at Lucques Restaurant, grills tart wild summer purslane after the steaks come off the barbecue, which adds extra flavor–“like deglazing the grill with the wild green.” Slightly succulent and tangy, it is also delicious sautéed, or used raw in salads when its leaves are tiny.
- Not Included in the Large Culinary Inspirations Box: Salt & Pepper, Dry White Wine or Stock, Olive Oil
- Serving Size: 4