This recipe comes from Chris Cosentino—chef at San Francisco's Incanto restaurant and author of Beginnings; My Way to Start a Meal (Olive Press; $25). We doubled this appetizer recipe so it could serve as a main course. Lamb loins are amazingly tender and flavorful, but expensive; we found that cheaper lamb shoulder roast (although tougher) works too. Just cook it a little longer—about 10 minutes more.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
1 salt-packed anchovy, rinsed and minced
3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon each sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 boned lamb loins (4 lbs.)
1 garlic head, cut in half crosswise
1 bunch mint, ends trimmed
How to Make It
Make butter: Put ingredients into bowl of a mixer and beat until smooth.
Prepare lamb: Preheat oven to 425°. Heat a large cast-iron frying pan over high heat until very hot. Add oil and swirl pan to coat. Put lamb in center of pan. Put garlic halves on either side of lamb, cut sides up, and lay mint over garlic. Cook lamb, turning once, until well browned, about 4 minutes on each side.
Put pan with lamb in oven to roast until meat reaches 125° on a meat thermometer, 12 to 14 minutes for medium-rare.
Transfer lamb to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with mint and garlic on the side and a dollop of anchovy butter on the warm lamb slices.
Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal (Olive Press); Incanto, San Francisco
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