Lamb Rump with Salsa Verde

SERVES 6; Photo pg. 46

SAVEUR - - Contents -

Ac­tive: 30 min. • To­tal: 45 min.

n South Africa, rump is used to de­scribe the sir­loin of a lamb, the ten­der strip of flesh con­nect­ing the leg to the loin. “While legs of lamb are more tra­di­tional at a braai,” says Cape Town butcher Andy Fen­ner, “think of it like a large steak, with one lean side and one that’s nice and fatty. The rump is more man­age­able, and just as tasty.” Fen­ner scores the fatty side in a cross­hatch pat­tern so the sea­son­ings can pen­e­trate deep into the meat. “Sea­son it for 3 to 5 hours be­fore cook­ing to draw the mois­ture out and get a good sear,” he says. Then pair it with a fresh, acidic salsa verde.

IFor the lamb: Two 1-lb. bone­less lamb rump (sir­loin) roasts (do not trim) Salt Freshly ground black pep­per For the salsa verde: ¾ cup ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil ½ cup flat-leaf pars­ley leaves, finely

chopped ¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped Finely grated zest of 2 medium lemons (2 Tbsp.) Juice of 1 medium lemon (2 Tbsp.) 1 Tbsp. ca­pers, drained and finely

chopped 1 Tbsp. minced an­chovy fil­lets (from

about 12 fil­lets) 2 tsp. Di­jon mus­tard 2 gar­lic cloves, minced (1 tsp.) ¼ tsp. cayenne pep­per (op­tional)

Salt

1 Pre­pare the lamb: Pre­heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Use a sharp knife to score the fat caps every inch; ro­tate the lamb 90° and re­peat to form a cross­hatch pat­tern. Sea­son the meat gen­er­ously all over with salt and pep­per.

2 Trans­fer the lamb fat side down to the grill; cook un­til the fat ren­ders a bit and the meat is well browned, about 4 min­utes. (If flares oc­cur, shift the meat away from the flame un­til it dies down, then re­place.) Us­ing tongs, turn the roasts and cook, turn­ing oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til browned all over and a meat ther­mome­ter in­serted into the cen­ter reads 145° (medium-rare), 15–18 min­utes more.

3 Re­move the meat and let it rest for 15 min­utes be­fore thinly slic­ing and serv­ing.

4 Mean­while, make the salsa verde: In a small bowl, com­bine the oil, pars­ley, mint, lemon zest and juice, ca­pers, an­chovies, mus­tard, gar­lic, and cayenne (if us­ing). Sea­son with salt to taste and serve with the grilled lamb. served cold in a sim­ple, pleas­ing salad. Ni­cole and Andy took off their aprons as the grill flick­ered down, and found a seat. By now, ev­ery­one was a few drinks in, and the dogs, ex­hausted, napped on the couch. We ate slowly, lazily, and went back for sec­onds and thirds.

Set the food aside. Is there a real dif­fer­ence be­tween a gath­er­ing like this and a bar­be­cue back in the States? No, not re­ally. But how could there be? To stand around an out­door flame is as ele­men­tal to hu­man­ity as any­thing. To grill was our sec­ond eureka mo­ment, af­ter the har­ness­ing of fire it­self. Of course it tran­scends bor­ders. Of course a braai here looks like a back­yard bar­be­cue else­where. Cook­ing for, and with, friends is a cel­e­bra­tion of com­mu­nity. Cook­ing with an open flame is a cel­e­bra­tion of the will to live.

In the Tam­boer­skloof neigh­bor­hood of Cape Town, Fen­ner grills braaibrood­jie (grilled cheese with chut­ney) in his back­yard.

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