Roast Leg of Lamb with Garlic-Herb Crust
An ideal holiday leg of lamb should be tender and succulent, with a crust to complement the meat’s delicate flavor. But roasting lamb in the oven so often yields a brown, rubbery mass. Here’s how we roasted a lamb worthy of the holiday table:
 

Test Kitchen Discoveries

In lieu of pan-searing the lamb on the stove before roasting—forming a seal that locks the meat’s juices in—we opted to crisp the skin in the oven on high heat. We then added the bread crumb mixture and continued to roast on lower heat until the meat was juicy and just cooked.

The delicate flavor of the lamb should be enhanced, not overpowered by herbs and aromatics. We opted for the simple flavors of garlic and rosemary.

Serves 8 to 10

A semiboneless leg of lamb has had the hipbone removed to facilitate carving. This recipe makes enough bread crumbs to use for the Lemon Asparagus Casserole.

Leg of Lamb

1 whole leg of lamb , semiboneless (6 to 8 pounds)
4 garlic cloves , thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Garlic-Herb Crust

6 slices hearty white sandwich bread
5 garlic cloves , minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1. For the lamb: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Using paring knife, cut 1-inch-deep slits all over lamb and poke garlic slivers and rosemary leaves inside slits. Rub lamb with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place leg meaty side down on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet. Roast lamb for 15 minutes, flip, and roast 15 minutes longer.

2. For the crust: Meanwhile, pulse bread, garlic, oil, and parsley in food processor until coarsely ground. Reserve 2 cups crumb mixture for Lemon Asparagus Casserole. Stir rosemary into remaining crumbs.

3. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Remove lamb from oven and brush meaty side with mustard. Press bread crumb mixture into mustard and continue roasting until temperature registers 130 to 135 degrees for medium, 30 to 45 minutes. Transfer lamb to cutting board and tent loosely with foil. Let rest 15 to 20 minutes. Slice and serve.

Make Ahead: Make slits in lamb, fill with garlic slivers and rosemary, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. The garlic-herb crust may be prepared as directed in step 2 and refrigerated for up to 1 day.