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
  • When it comes to cooking sausage, it's all about heat management

    "If you're going to grill, you can mark it first on a hotter part of the grill," says Chris Ying, editor in chief of Lucky Peach and co-author of The Wurst of Lucky Peach. "Then move it to the cooler, indirect heat to finish cooking gently and slowly, and let all of those fats and everything break down inside of the sausage."

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Host Francis Lam wins multiple 2017 James Beard Media Awards

Host Francis Lam won several awards at the 2017 James Beard Foundation Media Awards for his work as food writer and cookbook editor.