Lamb Rump with Salsa Verde
SERVES 6; Photo pg. 46
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)
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.