Try a refreshing lamb salad: It just may become a family favorite! Photography courtesy of Meat And Livestock Australia.
Spring Lamb Recipes
Part IV: Sliced Leg Of Lamb On Cucumber & Watercress Salad
A lamb salad is a most refreshing way to enjoy lamb and fresh greens. It’s low-calorie, too. You can serve this dish as a first course at dinner or a main luncheon course. If someone in your group doesn’t like cucumbers, substitute zucchini. You can similarly substitute baby arugula or mâche for the watercress—or create a blend.
Sliced Leg of Lamb on Cucumber and Watercress Salad
This recipe uses boneless leg of lamb, marinated for 30 minutes or overnight. Prep work and cooking takes 60 minutes. To speed it up, cook the lamb the day before, wrap in foil after the resting period and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and slice right before serving. Serve with a dry, full-bodied white wine or a light red, and crusty bread. Sorbet and cookies make a perfect finale to this light meal.
- 1 boneless leg of lamb
- 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
- Olive oil
- 2 cucumbers
- 1/2 bulb fennel (anise), white part only
- 2 bunches watercress, leaves separated from roots
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
- Lemon-infused olive oil to garnish (optional)
- Crusty bread or baguette
- Full-bodied white wine or light-bodied red wine
- Remove netting and open the leg of lamb. Pound to around 1-inch thickness. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or overnight for a more “cured” flavor.
- Drain the excess juices and pat the lamb dry with paper towel, wiping off excess seasoning. Allow to come to room temperature, then brush generously with olive oil. Preheat grill or barbecue to medium high and add the remaining olive oil. Add lamb and brown on all sides, then continue to barbecue, turning occasionally for 10-20 minutes, depending on thickness. The lamb can be finished in a covered grill or 350°F oven. Transfer to clean platter, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.
- For the salad, cut cucumber and fennel in half lengthwise and sliver as thinly as possible. For paper-thin slices, use a vegetable peeler or mandolin. Place in a large bowl with the watercress leaves.
- Just before serving, whisk the oil, juice of 1/2 of the lemon and mustard, and season to taste. Toss with the salad.
- Place the salad on a large platter or individual plates. Slice the desired amount of lamb thinly across the grain and arrange over salad. Squeeze the other half of the lemon over the dish, or drizzle with a small amount of lemon-infused olive oil. Serves 4-6.
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