Little Lamb Who Cooked Thee?

April 3 – April 9, 2023

Monday:                      Potato and Pea Chowder

Tuesday:                      Rigatoni with Pork Sugo

Thursday:                    Warm Chicken Piccata Salad

Friday:                         Baked Fish with Tartar Sauce

Saturday:                     Paccheri with Peas and Peccorino

Sunday:                        Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb, Parsley Potatoes, Salad, Appetizer of Chicken Liver Paté with Cornichons on Baguette

Last Week:

Billy and Beez cooked baramundi with tomatoes

A par 5 at the Country Club of North Carolina – you can’t see that the fairway continues to the left, below the pine trees, giving golfers the choice of hitting a third shot across the pond to the green or bailing out to the left.

Note:  I was out of town last week and with our Easter dinner was pretty tied up the week before that.  Hence the hiatus in blog postings.  But we’re back on track and wanted to share that Easter dinner with you.  That Pork Sugo, however, may be the recipe for the next blog.  Good Lord, was it great!

Little Lamb Who Cooked Thee?

I have a confession, a declaration and a recipe to share with you.  My confession is about that little lamb – it was I who cooked it.  But I promptly served it to a group of relatives in order to create a crowd of protective accomplices in case the Vegetarians ever take over (remember, their objection is to eating animals, not hurting people).  My declaration is that your life will improve if you gather a group of friends and go on a golfing trip.*  (Look, if fishing or hunting or music or art is your thing, just arrange your trip around that.)

*I have heard, with the sort of inner contraction you experience when you see someone step on a rake which then levers itself up to whack them in the worst possible place, of golf trips that consist of playing 36 holes a day.  To my way of thinking, that’s like dedicating a vacation at the beach to swimming 30 miles each day.  This iron man approach turns the joy of golf (the beauty of the course, the camaraderie, the occasional brilliant shot, the getting over the hole where the wheels came off) into a grind, and, in general is for Type A+++ personalities who can never stop their aggressive accumulation of achievements.  But, my idea of a golf trip is exactly what Tim, Ambrose, Dave and I did: after a leisurely morning (newspapers, coffee, muffin), play a round of golf.  Have a very cold beer when finished, then take a nap and wake up in time to make it to a local restaurant or club for dinner.  Smoke a cigar and drink a glass of bourbon on the patio after returning to your rental, then turn in with a good book.  Repeat.

So, why cook a lamb?  Well, it’s an Easter tradition that grew out of a Passover tradition that is 3,000 or so years old.  So you can’t blame me for coming up with the idea.  And then, well-cooked lamb with a good sauce is spectacular – a show stopper of an entrée.  And, finally, to nail the temperature of the lamb (medium-rare), while creating a seared crust on the outside, is an achievement for a cook.  And while I’m not Type A+++, I’m just a tad south of that.

The title of this blog is, of course, a play on William Blake’s ‘The Lamb’.  And, if you don’t know Blake’s “Songs of Innocence & Experience,” please correct that oversight in the next few days.  And don’t fail to read ‘Tyger’ after reading ‘The Lamb’.

And, finally, here is the recipe for the feast we had on Easter.  It comes from Gail Simmons and was featured on the Today Show.  Who says there’s nothing good on television?

Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Marinade

Grilled, Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Spicy Mint Dressing

(adapted from Gail Simmons, featured on The Today Show)

Note:  This is an easy recipe – most of the time involves marinating the lamb – the cooking takes 12-20 minutes, so don’t let the timing put you off.

Timing:                  Five and one-half hours (includes marinading and cooking)

Ingredients:                                         Serves 6

1 4 lb. butterflied leg of lamb (we had a large leg – close to 6 pounds after deboning – it would have fed 10 to 12, and it took a bit longer to cook)

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or Aleppo pepper (we used Aleppo pepper – thanks Dick and Hilly)

½ cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Optional:  Pepper Jelly or Mint Jelly or both.  Note:  I like to make the fairly spicey pepper jelly even hotter with a little hot chili paste – Beez prefers the pepper jelly by itself.


In a bowl, combine mint, lemon zest and juice, chopped garlic and pepper.  Whisk in the olive oil.  Reserve ¼ cup of the mixture for the dressing.  We did not reserve any because we like pepper jelly or mint jelly with our lamb.

If the lamb is bound with string or a string net, remove that and unfurl the lamb.  Place it in a large bowl or, easier, a jumbo food storage bag and pour the marinade over it.  Seal the bag and try to work the marinade into every pocket and angle of the lamb – or turn the lamb over a few times in the bowl.  Place the bag in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours – or cover the bowl and refrigerate.

45 minutes before grilling, bring the lamb to room temperature.

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat – you want the grill grate to get very hot, so allow some time for your coals, or the gas to heat the grate, and don’t forget to oil the grate lightly.


Remove the lamb from the marinade and season it generously with salt and pepper.

Take the lamb to the grill (take a meat thermometer with you to check the temperature) and do not leave that grill until the lamb is cooked.

Grill the lamb, turning and moving around the grill to avoid flare-ups.  (A little char on the lamb will not hurt – the fat being rendered from the lamb makes flare-ups inevitable.)  You want to cook until the lamb is charred on the outside – that’s where the flare-ups help – and the internal temperature is 125 F.  This will take about 13 minutes for a 4 lb. leg, up to 20 for the monster we had.

Remove the lamb to a cutting board, loosely cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  (The internal temperature will reach 135 F. at that point.)

Slice the lamb thinly, against the grain and place on a platter.  Served drizzled with the extra dressing, if you wish.  Or serve, as we did, with the juices from the cutting board and substantial bowls of pepper jelly and mint jelly on the side.

Beez’s parsley potatoes and a good salad are perfect accompaniments to this feast memorializing the flight of the Jews from Egypt and the Resurrection.

Leave a Reply