Recipe: Mark Peel’s Charred Leg of Lamb with Baba Ghanouj

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Every Thursday on the Good Food Blog we share a recipe from our archives. Mark Peel, chef and owner of Campanile, first shared this recipe for Charred Leg of Lamb with Baba Ghanouj with us on March 25, 2005.

Keep reading for the full recipe…

Rosemary Charred Leg of Lamb
Serves 6 to 8
Serve with Baba Ghanouj (recipe follows)

One 4 – lb leg of lamb
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
6 ozs rosemary sprigs (8 bunches)

Trim off any excess fat from the meat, leaving a thin layer. Make 1 inch slits all over the meat and insert the garlic slices. Rub the lamb well with olive oil and coat heavily with salt and pepper. Wrap securely with plastic wrap and set aside for several hours, or refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 500- F.

Heat an ovenproof skillet or heavy pan large enough for the lamb to fit in comfortably and brown it on all sides. Remove the lamb to a platter and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat. Cover the bottom of pan with a bed of rosemary and place the lamb on top. Cover the lamb with more rosemary.

Place in the oven. After 20 minutes turn the heat down to 375- F. Roast for another 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.

When ready to serve, take outside, carefully ignite the rosemary on top of the lamb, and allow to burn itself out. Make sure you have a tight-fitting lid handy to extinguish the flames. Brush off the woody stems. The charred rosemary imparts even more flavor to the lamb. Let it rest 10 to 15 minutes and transfer to a serving platter.

Note: If fresh rosemary is unavailable, soak 3 ounces of dried rosemary in water to cover for 30 minutes. Drain. Pat wet rosemary on the lamb before placing it in the oven. Do not attempt to flame it.

Baba Ghanouj
Serves 4 as a side dish

1 medium unblemished eggplant (about 1 – lbs)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
– tsp coarse salt
– tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp lemon juice

Place a cast-iron skillet large enough for the eggplant to fit comfortably over high heat and put the eggplant in it. Cook for about 1 hour, carefully turning the eggplant every 15 minutes as the skin becomes black and charred. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Trim off the stem end of the eggplant and cut in half lengthwise. Carefully scrape out the insides with a spoon, discarding the charred skin. Some of the pulp may have darkened; this will give the eggplant a roasted flavor. Mash the pulp in a bowl with a fork, breaking up any large pieces. Stir in the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Let stand at room temperature for several hours or refrigerate overnight.