Roast lamb with watermelon, halloumi and mint salad
Butterflying a leg of lamb requires time, patience and a very sharp knife. Because we rarely have any of these except perhaps the knife, we try to buy a leg that has already been butterflied. If you have a good local butcher who can do it for you, even better.
2kg of de-boned and butterflied leg of lamb
For the salsa verde:
Put the salsa verde ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor with a blade attachment and whizz until blended to a thick but runny consistency.
Place the lamb in a roasting tray and rub all over with 3-4 tbsp of salsa verde. Cover tightly with foil and leave to marinade for 3-4 hours or overnight in the fridge / somewhere cool.
Bring the lamb up to room temperature before cooking. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C and cook the lamb for 40 minutes if you like it pink, 10 minutes longer if you prefer it medium. Remove the foil and continue cooking for a further 10-15 minutes.
If you can do this last 10-15 minutes of cooking on a BBQ, the lamb will taste even better with its added smoky flavour. Remove from the oven (or BBQ) and allow to rest, loosely covered in foil, for 15-20 minutes.
Carve into thick slices and serve with the rest of the salsa verde in a jug or bowl for guests to help themselves to.
A simple tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella salad, and a bowl of small roasted new potatoes is the perfect accompaniment to this dish. For something a little more adventurous, try the salad below.
Start by toasting the almonds under a moderately hot grill until lightly browned.
Blanch the green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes then refresh under cold water and drain.
Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the watermelon, green beans and mint in a large salad bowl, pour over the dressing and toss to coat everything.
Place a small non-stick frying pan without any oil over a medium high heat. Cut the Halloumi into 1 cm thick slices and place in the pan. Do not move the Halloumi until the water has leached out of it and dried up. By this time the cheese should be just browned on the underside and it is ready to flip over. Brown the second side before removing from the pan. Tear up (or chop with scissors) and scatter over the salad along with the toasted almonds.
We enjoyed a number of different bottles with this dish. It’s pretty wine friendly, despite the slightly eclectic flavours.
The Noussa Single Vineyard Xinomavro Thymiopolous 2016 (£15.50, Wine Society) is quite wild in aroma but really grippy on the palate, like a mini Barolo, and worked really well.
A good summery option is a rosé – the Semeli Oreinos Helios Rosé 2017, a deep-hued and succulent rosé, also from Greece, went down a treat (£8.50, Wine Society).
Finally, two succulent, moreish reds from Majestic also worked well – the Surani Costarossa Primitivo di Manduria 2017 (£9.99) and Nero Oro Appassimento 2017 (£8.99).