Serves 6 to 8
The sweetness and softness of roasted garlic complements the delicate flavor of the corn salad and is a traditional partner of lamb.
- 5-pound leg of lamb
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds russet potatoes
- 6 to 8 fresh thyme sprigs, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 head garlic, roasted
- 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons walnut or hazelnut oil
- 1 1/2 to 2 quarts corn salad, trimmed and cleaned
1. Bone the leg of lamb or have your butcher do it, keeping the natural muscle separations intact as much as possible. Trim the meat of all fat and connective tissue. You will have three or four large pieces and three or four small pieces. Rub the lamb all over with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and keep at cool room temperature while you prepare the potatoes.
2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Scrub the potatoes well, halve them lengthwise if they are large, and slice them about 1/4 inch thick. Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment. Spread the potato slices on the pans. Scatter or sprinkle the thyme over them. Drizzle each pan of potatoes with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss them well and shake to distribute.
3. Bake the potatoes for 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and shake it to loosen the potatoes, and turn them with a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes longer. While the potatoes are baking, finish preparing the corn salad and lamb.
4. Squeeze the roasted garlic into a small bowl. Stir in the vinegar. Drizzle in the extra-virgin oil and walnut oils while stirring to make an emulsion. Salt and pepper the vinaigrette and add more vinegar if necessary; the vinaigrette should taste quite sharp.
5. In a sauté pan large enough to hold the lamb, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the large pieces first; they will be medium-rare in about 20 minutes. Turn frequently to brown the lamb evenly. After 8 to 10 minutes, add the small pieces and turn frequently. Place the cooked lamb on a platter and season with salt and pepper. Remove any fat from the pan and deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup water; reduce it to 2 to 3 tablespoons and add to the vinaigrette. Let the lamb stand while you finish the potatoes and vinaigrette.
6. When the potatoes are tender and golden brown, place them on a serving platter. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette over them. Toss the corn salad with 3 to 4 tablespoons vinaigrette and place it on the potatoes.
7. Cut each piece of lamb into thin slices on a slight diagonal. Collect all the juices and stir them into the vinaigrette.
8. Arrange the lamb on top of the corn salad and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Serve immediately.