Barbecued leg of lamb with almonds and orange blossom

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1 leg of lamb, deboned and trimmed (1.5kg net)
3 red peppers, cut into quarters and seeds removed (370g net)
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper

Marinade:
6 garlic cloves, crushed
Grated zest of 2 lemons
90ml lemon juice
3 tbsp thyme leaves, picked
90ml olive oil
Sauce:
100ml olive oil
175g whole almonds
Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
½ tsp orange blossom water
15g mint, finely chopped
15g coriander leaves, finely chopped

This looks fantastic when served on a large platter over a bed of fresh parsley – leaves and stalks. You can sear the meat, grill the peppers and make the sauce (without the herbs) – all in advance, then finish the meat and add the herbs to the sauce at the very last minute.

Serves eight

Method

Start with the marinade. In a large bowl combine the garlic, lemon zest and juice, the picked thyme leaves, olive oil, 1½ teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper and stir well.
Divide the lamb into 4 or 5 even pieces and add to the marinade. Use your hands to massage the marinade into the meat. Put in the fridge and leave to marinate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
Place a large ridged griddle pan on high heat. Drizzle the peppers with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of salt and place on the grill. Cook for about 7 minutes, turning once, until charred on all sides. Set aside to cool, then cut into 2 centimeter wide strips.
Put the lamb pieces on the hot grill and cook for 2-3minutes on each side or until charred all over and starting to caramelise. Transfer onto a roasting tray and put in the hot oven for 4 minutes. The meat should reach a rare to medium stage by then (leave a few minutes longer if you like it well cooked). Check by pressing against the meat. The less the “give” the more it is cooked. If you aren’t sure, just make a small incision to check for the colour. Once the lamb is cooked, remove it from the oven, cover the tray with foil and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile make the sauce. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small pan and add the almonds. Cook for 3-4 minutes stirring continuously until the nuts are golden brown and evenly cooked. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Place the nuts in a food processor and roughly crush. Mix in the lemon zest and juice, honey, orange blossom water, ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper and the remaining olive oil. Mix well and set aside.
When you are ready to serve, carve the lamb into 1cm thick slices and arrange it on a platter along with the peppers. Add the freshly chopped herbs to the sauce and spoon on top. Serve any remaining sauce on the side.

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