Nils Noren is the Vice President, Restaurant Operations for the Marcus Samuelsson Group (full disclosure: Samuelsson is a co-founder of Food Republic). This fall, Noren will release a cookbook in Swedish, 10 Techniques, 100 Recipes. Here, he gives us a sneak peek (albeit in English). Follow him on Twitter at @nilsnoren.
There’s always the challenge of finding the right balance of acid and fat. Rich, flavorful meat like leg of lamb typically finds balance with a tart red wine reduction or tangy yogurt sauce, but heading south of the border with a creamy, slightly spicy tomatillo salsa will certainly do the trick.
Chef Noren’s trick to getting a perfect, even medium-rare?
“I start the roasting on high heat to ensure that you get the nice browning that gives it such a great flavor. When that is achieved I take it out, lower the temperature, then put it back to finish so it roasts more evenly.”
For the lamb
- 1 4-5 pound leg of lamb, trimmed of fat
- 3 tablespoons chopped thyme
- black pepper
For the salsa
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the lamb:
- Rub the meat with the salt, black pepper and thyme, then brush with oil.
- Place the leg of lamb on a baking rack with a pan underneath to catch any drippings from the meat.
- Heat the oven to 450F, place the lamb in the middle of the oven. Roast until the lamb is starting to get golden brown, should take about 15 minutes.
- Take the lamb out of the oven and lower the temperature to 300F.
- Place a thermometer in the thickest part of the leg. Put back in the oven and continue to roast until it reaches a inner temperature of 125F for medium-rare (about 2 hours) or higher for more well-done.
- Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.
For the salsa:
- Heat the oven to 425F.
- Place the tomatillos, jalapenos and garlic in aluminum foil and close up to create a packet. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Take out and open the bag carefully as it will have steam inside. When cool, put the tomatillo, jalapeno and garlic in a blender together with the cilantro.
- Start blending and slowly add in the olive oil.
- Season with salt.