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March 27, 2013

Cut the fat, keep the flavor with Easter lamb

I love lamb, in every way and every cut. But I don’t eat it very often because of the same thing that tends to make it so very delicious — its fattiness.

Still, all bets are off during Easter, when I happily bow to tradition. In Easters past, I’ve roasted a whole leg of lamb or part of a leg, and prepared it in a Mediterranean fashion. Trouble is, there’s always so much left over. So this year I’m going with smaller lamb steaks that are cut from the leg, one of the leanest cuts of lamb (especially if you also trim away any fat).

In fact, the leg is so lean you have to figure out how to replace the flavor and moisture that goes missing when you kiss the fat goodbye. In this recipe, that is accomplished with a rosemary-garlic rub with added salt. When you rub a piece of protein with salt and let it sit, the salt eventually makes the meat juicier. It works like a brine, minus the liquid.

Having chosen a lean cut of meat, I also wanted a lean way to cook it. Grilling fit the bill. The problem is that grills are banned here in New York City. And elsewhere in the country, many people still haven’t hauled their grills out of storage for the season yet.

The solution is a grill pan. In my opinion, every home should have one. Grilling done properly — that is, as long as you don’t incinerate the ingredient in question — is a healthy way to get flavor out of meats and vegetables.

Grilled marinated lamb all by itself is pretty darn tasty, but I wanted to gild the lily a bit. Since I already was giving the lamb the Mediterranean treatment with a rosemary-garlic rub, I thought why not top it with an egg-lemon sauce, a stalwart of the Greek culinary repertoire?

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