My sister just requested roast lamb for her birthday lunch. I thought I would share the recipe I have been following (through a few iterations) for many years. It started as a rack of lamb gremoulata recipe from my friend Sal. But When I found Mark Bittman’s version in the New York Times, I switched to the butterflied leg. He calls it inside out lamb persilliade. More affordable cut of lamb and less fussy with no foil needed. You can also use lamb shoulder.

I’m posting the article with his recipe and also the video because its fun to watch The Minimalist (Mark) at work. I don’t usually use the rosemary or a food processor. I roughly chop the parsley and cut the preserved lemon into about 4mm squares. I like to mix the ingredients with my hands and then pack the meat with it. The olive oil and lemon make a good hand moisturiser.

In Australia you can buy preserved lemons from Maggie Beer and also other companies now. I get the plain kind with just lemons and salt. Usually I make my own in advance. They keep for ages in the fridge. I use Claudia Rodin’s (living legend) recipe which is very simple: squish quartered lemons into a jar. Use backyard or organic lemons but scrub them well to remove any residue of pollution or sprays. Apparently lemons and oranges can be sprayed with chemicals since the rinds are considered not food 🙁

Pack tightly and fill with rock salt as you go. Pour in lemon juice right to the top and seal. Refrigerate or store in cool pantry for a month or so. Thick rind lemons are better than Meyer for this one. Some people do not use the flesh, only the rind. I use all of it.

Here is my version:


Roughly chop 1-2 large bunches of flat leaf (continental) parsley

cut a segment or two of preserved lemon into small squares (about 4mm)

4-8 roughly chopped cloves of garlic

add lashings of olive oil.

add a table spoon or so of the juice from the preserved lemon or some salt (not too much)

mix together with your hands

Rub the lamb all over with olive oil and place in a roasting dish. Pack the parsley mixture inside the butterflied rack of lamb.  Salt the skin of the lamb (freshly ground pepper too if you like it)

Cook to your taste (maybe 30-40 mins at 425F/200C. Stand for 10-20 mins.

You can also make extra persilliade/ gremoulata and throw it into the roasting pan for the last 5 mins of cooking or just the standing time. I have also used kale as well.

Here is mark’s recipe for people who like precision:

(although his video version is more improvised like mine)

Inside-Out Lamb Persillade

Time: About 1 1/2 hours, largely unattended

Butterflied leg of lamb, 3 to 4 pounds

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups parsley leaves

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

3 to 4 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lemon wedges for serving.

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Trim excess fat from lamb. In a food processor, make persillade by puréeing olive oil, parsley, rosemary, garlic, lemon zest and some salt and pepper.

2. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper on both sides, then turn so the side that had been on the bone, the one with the more irregular surface, is facing up, with the wider end facing you. Smear the surface of lamb with most of persillade mixture, then fold it in half (there will be a kind of natural hinge, as you’ll see) with persillade on the inside. Smear the remaining persillade on outside of the lamb and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Put lamb in a roasting pan and cook for about 35 to 40 minutes for rare meat, or until an instant thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 130 degrees, or, for medium rare, 135 degrees.

4. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes; slice, and serve with fresh lemon wedges.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

The Minimalist – Not Just Rack of Lamb – Persillade for the Butterflied –

Here is the video