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Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary, Anchovy and Salsa Verde

First Posted: 10/27/2011 4:55 pm Updated: 08/31/2012 10:48 am

Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary, Anchovy and Salsa Verde

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As strange as it may seem, anchovy and lamb is a wonderful combination. The salty intense flavor of anchovies is lovely with the tender, slightly sweet flavor of spring lamb. I first came across this recipe many years ago in Simon Hopkinson’s Roast Chicken and Other Stories. It is one of my very favorite cookbooks and I turn to it time and time again when I am in need of inspiration.


  • 4 1/2 pounds leg of lamb, trimmed of most of its outer layer of fat
  • 6 anchovy filets
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 bunch rosemary, torn into sprigs
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the salsa verde:
  • 1 small bunch basil, leaves only
  • 1 small bunch mint, leaves only
  • 1 handful arugula, leaves only
  • 1 small bunch parsley, leaves only
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves only
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 1 tablespoon capers, well rinsed
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • To make the salsa verde: Roughly chop the herbs and combine together in a mixing bowl. Add the garlic, mustard and vinegar and stir well to combine. Finely chop the anchovies and capers and add to the bowl. Pour over the olive oil and stir. Let the ingredients sit together for five minutes or so – the flavors will change slightly as they get to know one another. Season to taste and set aside.
  • To prepare the lamb: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Place the lamb on a board and, using a sharp knife, pierce half-inch pockets on its surface. Tear the anchovies in half and, into each pocket, insert a sliver of garlic, an anchovy half and a sprig of rosemary. Rub all over with the butter and season. Cover with foil and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Roast for 30 minutes then remove the foil, turn the heat down to 350° F. and cook for a further 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar. Let the lamb rest in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove, carve and serve while still warm, with the salsa verde.


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