- 1/4 pound pancetta or bacon, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
- 2 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch cayenne
- 5 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 4 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
- 2 large cooked artichoke hearts, trimmed and diced, leaves reserved for another use
- 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
- 1 (4 1/2 to 5-pound) boned, butterflied leg of lamb
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large skillet, cook the pancetta until the fat is rendered and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. To the fat remaining in the pan, add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the bread crumbs and salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the parsley and oregano, stir, and remove from the heat. Spread on a plate to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the cooled breadcrumb mixture with the cooked pancetta, artichoke hearts, Romano cheese, 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon of the Essence. Stir until well blended. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Spread the butterflied leg of lamb, boned side up, on a work surface with the grain of the meat running left to right. Spread the bread crumb mixture across the meat, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Roll the meat over the stuffing, jelly-roll fashion, and tuck in the ends. Tie with kitchen twine every 2 inches. Rub the olive oil over the surface of the meat and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of Essence. Place in a heavy roasting pan and roast until brown and tender, and an instant read thermometer registers 140 degrees F. for medium-rare, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving. To serve, remove the kitchen twine and slice.
Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.