A roast leg of lamb is perfectly suited to a cozy Sunday dinner with family. The smell of the caramelizing tomatoes and olives will waft through your house and help welcome guests to your home. Try serving this family style so everyone can help themselvse to slices of the roast lamb and spoonfuls of sauce. You can pair it with risotto or mashed potatoes but a cauliflower puree is nice and light and pairs with lamb beautifully.
Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomato, Olives and Mint(serves 6)
Using a mortar and pestle crush the whole coriander and combine with the salt, pepper and cloves. Remove the lamb from the fridge and rub it with the salt mixture. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for an hour so it isn't too cold.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Heat a heavy skillet to medium high heat. Once hot add the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and brown the lamb thoroughly on all sides. Once browned remove to a plate.
If you are organized you should be able to make the sauce at the same time you are browning the lamb. Heat a second skillet or large sauce pan to medium high heat. Add the olive oil and sliced onion. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on to and stir the onions until lightly browned. Add garlic and stir for 3 minutes, enough to have the garlic be fragrant but not burned. Add the olives, mint and whole tomatoes along with 1 cup of water. Bring to a gently simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the oven and place the lamb in the middle of the sauce. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325F. Cook the lamb until it reaches the desired temperature - 130-135 for medium rare as we did. Check the lamb every 20 minutes, and if the sauce looks dry stir in a 1/2 cup of water.
While the lamb is in the oven you can make the cauliflower puree. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Remove the excess leaves from the cauliflower and place, whole, in the water. Cover and cook at a simmer until the cauliflower is very soft. Remove from the water and transfer to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Add to a medium saucepan and stir in salt and pepper to taste. Cover. Reheat over low heat to serve.
Remove the lamb from the oven and tent lightly with tin foil. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Serve on top of a bed of cauliflower puree with tomato and olive sauce.