My dear friend, Laurie Burrows Grad, is a gifted writer and cook. She loves to do dinner parties with a Chinese theme, and one of her favorite main courses is this lamb dish. Marinated overnight in a luscious hoisin ginger blend, the lamb is then grilled to a rosy medium to medium rare. The flavor is simply spectacular and complements the lamb beautifully.
There are many recipes for butterflied leg of lamb (lamb that has been boned and left open so that the meat resembles a steak). It may look jagged and lopsided, but after marinating and grilling, it is transformed into an incredible dish. One way to help cook the lamb uniformly is to pound it into a uniform thickness. It won’t be perfect, but it will help in evenly cooking the lamb. Some pieces might be rarer, while others are well done. That’s a bonus when serving a group of people with diversified preferences.
When the weather begins to turn warm, I like to kick off the season with the fragrant aroma of this lamb as it is cooks outdoors. This can be the main event of an al fresco dinner party served along with an array of grilled eggplant and colorful peppers. A big bowl of steaming fried rice would go nicely to soak up the sauce.
The marinade can be used to flavor and tenderize rib or loin lamb chops. Plus, leftover lamb is delicious served cold or at room temperature. The lamb can be marinated for up to two days, but it should be cooked just before serving for optimum flavor.
Grilled Leg of Lamb
1 leg of lamb (6 to 7 pounds), boned, butterflied and evenly flatted with fell (tough outer skin) removed, and well-trimmed of any remaining fat
Sprigs of mint or cilantro, for garnish
For the marinade
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/3 cup finely minced scallions (green and white parts included)
3 tablespoons Asian-style sesame oil
3 tablespoons well-aged Chinese dark Chinkiang vinegar or balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
Place the lamb in a sealable plastic bag, pour in the marinade, seal the bag tightly, toss to coat the meat thoroughly, and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. (Note: Allow the lamb to sit at room temperature for one hour before cooking).
Lightly coat an outdoor or indoor grill with nonstick cooking spray and preheat to medium-high.
Drain the meat, reserving the marinade for basting, and grill for about 15 to 20 minutes per side (depending on its size) for medium rare, with an internal temperature of about 130 degrees, basting occasionally. (An instant meat thermometer is helpful.)
Allow the meat to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes and then slice on the bias and serve hot, garnished with sprigs of mint or cilantro. Serves 8.
Per serving: 380 calories; 18 g fat (7 g saturated fat; 43 percent calories from fat); 6 g carbohydrates; 3 g sugar; 113 mg cholesterol; 398 mg sodium; 48 g protein; 0.4 g fiber.