roast leg of Scotch lamb, Jersey royals and spring green salad

This week I’m confidently pairing Scotch lamb with a warm salad of potatoes and spring green vegetables. While I know this dish tastes great, my concern is that we may not have seen the last of the cold windy days just yet and this fresh, lighter take on the classic Easter Sunday roast may be a hard sell to you and yours round the dinner table – as an optimist however, I’ll stick with it.

This really is a lovely way to enjoy our Scotch lamb as it lets the flavour of this amazing meat shine. Much as I love all the trimmings of a roast dinner there is something special about paring it right back to the simple pleasure of a well cooked and rested joint of meat. From there you can start to pair it with something new and fresh from the spring offerings and for me one of my absolute favourites is amongst them – Jersey Royals. Now for the record I love an Ayrshire tattie more than most, but these potatoes are such a treat due to their short season (April-July) that I just have to use them. Simply boiled, cut and mixed while warm with the dressing is great but add some blanched asparagus, watercress and soft-boiled quail’s eggs and it’s elevated to something worthy of any table.

Once the lamb has rested slice it thin, add a splash of good olive oil and some shredded mint to the resting juices and you have a great light dressing to pour generously over the meat. I hope the sun shines and spring is in the air for Easter Sunday but if not, there’s always roast potatoes and gravy. Enjoy.

Ingredients
The Method

serves 6

salad
12 quail’s eggs
800g Jersey royals, cleaned but not scrubbed
125g asparagus, blanched and cooled
60g watercress, washed and picked
40g pine nuts, toasted
20g parsley, chopped
60g parmesan, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200ml olive oil
1 tsp white-wine vinegar
sea salt and black pepper

lamb
1.5kg leg of lamb
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, crushed
10g rosemary, finely chopped
30 ml olive oil
juice ½ a lemon
sea salt and black pepper
small bunch mint leaves, finely shredded

salad
1. Put the eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil, simmer for 45 seconds. Refresh in cold water and peel.
2.Cook the potatoes for 15 minutes until soft but not falling apart. Whilst cooking put the parsley, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic and vinegar in a food processor and blitz, adding the oil till you have a smooth dressing.
3. As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and toss with the dressing (hot potatoes will absorb more of the dressing). Mix well so all the flavours mix. Add the asparagus and watercress, season to taste. Cut the eggs in half and fold into the salad.

 

lamb

1. Preheat the oven to 210C /Gas 7. Remove the lamb leg from the fridge at least an hour before cooking so it can come up to room temperature. Make slashes 1-2cm deep all over the lamb leg with a sharp-pointed knife.
2. In a bowl, mix the crushed garlic with the rosemary, a good grind of black pepper, the olive oil and lemon juice to make a paste.
3. Massage the paste into the slashes in the lamb leg.
4. Place the lamb on the bed of carrot and onion and put into the hot oven for 30 mins. Turn the oven down to 190C/Gas 5 and cook for another 30 mins. Remove the lamb from the oven and wrap in foil. Allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes. These timings should give you lovely pink meat.
5. Once the lamb has rested, remove from the tray, slice it thin and return to the resting juices with a glug of good olive oil and some shredded mint.
6. Serve with the potato salad.