Roast Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Coriander, Fennel, and Black Pepper

Copyright 2016 America's Test Kitchen

We prefer the subtler flavor and larger size of lamb labeled “domestic” or “American” for this recipe. The amount of salt (2 tablespoons) in step 1 is for a 6 pound leg. If using a larger leg (7 to 8 pounds), add an additional teaspoon of salt for every pound.


  • 1 (6- to 8 pound) butterflied leg of lamb
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 shallots, sliced thin
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 (1 inch) piece ginger, sliced into 1/2 inch-thick rounds and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 (2 inch) strips lemon zest


  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

1. For the Lamb: Place lamb on cutting board with fat cap facing down. Using sharp knife, trim any pockets of fat and connective tissue from underside of lamb. Flip lamb over, trim fat cap so it’s between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick, and pound roast to even 1 inch thickness. Score fat cap in 1/2-inch crosshatch pattern, being careful to cut down to but not into meat. Rub 2 tablespoons salt over entire roast and into slits. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, adjust 1 oven rack to lower-middle position and second rack 4 to 5 inches from broiler element. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Stir together oil, shallots, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, bay leaves, and lemon zest on rimmed baking sheet and bake on lower rack until spices are softened and fragrant and shallots and garlic turn golden, about 1 hour. Remove sheet from oven and discard bay leaves.

3. Thoroughly pat lamb dry with paper towels and transfer, fat side up, to sheet (directly on top of spices). Roast on lower rack until lamb registers 120 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and heat broiler. Broil lamb on upper rack until surface is well browned and charred in spots and lamb registers 125 degrees (for medium-rare), 3 to 8 minutes.

4. Remove sheet from oven and, using 2 pairs of tongs, transfer lamb to carving board (some spices will cling to bottom of roast); tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes.

5. For the Sauce: Meanwhile, carefully pour pan juices through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Stir in parsley, cilantro, shallot, and lemon juice. Add any accumulated lamb juices to sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. With long side facing you, slice lamb with grain into 3 equal pieces. Turn each piece and slice across grain into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Serve with sauce. (Briefly warm sauce in microwave if it has cooled and thickened.)

Cook time: 
Serves 8 to 10
  • The road to Samarkand

    The city of Samarkand is on the storied Silk Road, but off the beaten path for many tourists. Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford make the case for the ancient Uzbek city's food and culture in their new book, Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & The Caucasus. They spoke with Lynne Rossetto Kasper about it.

Top Recipes

Breaking Southern food stereotypes with chef Edouardo Jordan of Junebaby

Chef Edouardo Jordan takes Southern food to a new level, highlighting Southern ingredients and tradition at his Seattle restaurant, Junebaby. Host Francis Lam talked with Jordan about his deep research into Southern cooking, and what it means to present Southern cuisine in the opposite corner of the country.