Lamb is available year-round in Australia—indeed, pretty much everywhere these days—but spring lamb remains especially sought after. Winter-born lambs are milk-fed before graduating to the sweet green grass of spring paddocks, resulting in lean, tender meat with a mild flavour.
This is among the reasons why lamb is traditionally the centrepiece of Italian Easter feast tables during the northern hemisphere spring. Different regions and families favour varying styles of cooking and accompanying flavours but in Lazio—the lamb-loving region around Rome—an Easter lamb roast traditionally gets a lift from the flavours of garlic and herbs. Rosemary is essential.
The southern hemisphere spring is an excellent time to update your repertoire of roast lamb recipes. Butterflying a leg of lamb (ask your butcher to take the bone out if you can’t see a butterflied leg on display) ensures more surface area for Tenina Holder’s zesty marinade to penetrate the meat. Tenina’s secret weapon, the Varoma, gently steams the lamb to juicy perfection before the meat is finished under a grill to develop a darkly aromatic crust. “Using the Varoma means you are guaranteed a tender-cooked lamb roast every time,” says Tenina.
Once it’s done, remember to rest it in a warm place (a pre-warmed platter covered with foil will do the job) for 10 minutes or longer while you finalise the other elements of the meal. No rush: the bigger your piece of lamb, the longer it will benefit from resting. A drizzle of pesto that you have thinned with a little high quality olive oil is the vibrant finishing touch.
- Place fresh and dried herbs, garlic, lemon zest, salt, spring onions and lemon juice into the Thermomix bowl and blend 20 seconds/speed 8.
- Place lamb into a resealable plastic bag and add the marinade on top. Rub into the meat and allow to marinate for about 4 hours or longer if possible.
- Remove lamb from the bag without the liquid. Place into paper-lined Varoma dish or tray.
- Preheat oven with a grill function to 220–250C.
- Pour water into the Thermomix bowl and set Varoma into position. Steam lamb for 25 minutes/Varoma/speed 4.
- Transfer the lamb directly onto a baking tray and drizzle with any remaining marinade.
- Grill until charred and blackened (20–30 minutes). Remove and rest before serving drizzled with pesto thinned down to a drizzling consistency with extra virgin olive oil.
- Serve with salads or cooked vegetables of choice.