Salt Baked Leg Of Lamb – That Looks Interesting..

Salt Baked Lamb (9 of 15)

There are lots of things in this life that appear to be interesting but remain untried. It’s not that I have led a particularly sheltered life. I’ve waterskied barefoot across lakes in County Sligo. I’ve ridden my bike to the top of Mount Ventoux in French Provence, I’ve drunk more than two gallons of beer at a sitting (not recently and not while on my bike) and I’ve managed to stay married to the one woman for the past thirty years or so. All of these (except the beer) seemed like good things to try. Yet, there are lots of other things that peak my interest but remain untried. Until last Sunday, Salt Baked Leg of Lamb was in this category.

In truth, I had set out to salt bake some fish. But, the fishmonger had whole fish that were either too large for the oven or too small to be worth the effort. I gave up and resigned myself to trying salt baking another day. However, a half price lamb promotion in the supermarket got me to reconsider and try the salt on a leg of lamb instead. It is not a difficult process. The ingredients list is mercifully short.

Salt Baked Lamb (1 of 15)Ingredients

  • 1 half price leg of lamb.
  • 2 kilos of cooking salt
  • The whites of 6 eggs
  • A bunch of rosemary
  • Zest of a lemon
  • Pepper to season
Firstly, cut some shallow slashes in the lamb.
Salt Baked Lamb (5 of 15)

The cuts don’t need to be deep. Just enough to let the flavours in.

This is to allow the lemon zest, rosemary, pepper and remarkably little of the salt to permeate the meat. Zest the lemon.

Salt Baked Lamb (2 of 15)

Cook’s tip: When it comes to lamb, lemon works really well with rosemary.

Slice the rosemary. If you can do this without it flying all over the work surface, you are doing better than me. Rub the rosemary, pepper and lemon zest all over the meat, being sure to rub it into the shallow slashes in the flesh.

Salt Baked Lamb (6 of 15)

This is quite an aromatic mixture. It smells nice too.

Separate the eggs. Reserve the yolks for the dog (That’s what happened to them in our house anyway. But, that’s a different story).

Salt Baked Lamb (7 of 15)

The hound made off with the yokes. Her coat has been glossy since.

Heat the oven to 180ºC. Add the whites to the salt and mix to combine. This is another thing that one might want to leave off the things to try list as the egg/salt mixture is a strangely disgusting consistency.

Salt Baked Lamb (8 of 15)

It needs a good mixing to combine. Yuck!

Lay enough of the mixture, on which to seat the lamb, in a roasting pan. Sit the lamb on top and completely cover it with the salt mixture.

Salt Baked Lamb (10 of 15)

Yes, that’s a leg of lamb in there.

Place it in the oven and roast for about an hour and fifteen minutes. If you are lucky enough to own a meat thermometer, take the lamb out of the oven when it reaches about 49ºC. Let it rest in the salt crust. Mine cracked along the edge but no harm was done.

Salt Baked Lamb (11 of 15)

I thought we were in trouble when I saw the fissure (great word that). But, all was good.

While the lamb is resting, you can use the hot oven to bake some thyme potatoes. these are cubed potatoes drizzled in olive oil with lots of thyme and some black pepper. They are delicious.

Salt Baked Lamb (12 of 15)

New season potatoes are great for this as one can leave the skins on.

The lamb makes a great centrepiece with lots of “oohs” and “ahhs” when the crust is removed. It came away easily in my case.

Salt Baked Lamb (13 of 15)

The “Taaa Daaa” moment. See the crust comes away in large pieces.

I have read elsewhere that fish or meat ‘salt baked’ is not too salty. Elsewhere is right. The salt crust added a slight accentuation of flavour to the outer edges of the meat. There was no salty taste. The meat was extremely tender and delicious. We also had it cold the following day and I would highly recommend it.

Salt Baked Lamb (15 of 15)

This is one of those meals you have to try. It is delightful.

Don’t leave the salt baked lamb in the same category as the two gallons of beer (I know you were shocked by that one). Do try it. You will not regret the experience.

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Latest comments
  • I was not shocked by two gallons until I googled how many litres that is…I am now shocked and frankly, somewhat in awe. I will add the salt baked lamb to my list of ‘to try’. However, to avoid a hospital stomach pumping kind of visit, I shall not attempt to best your beer drinking.

  • I too was not shocked by the beer consumption. I always suspected you had a dark past informing your present dark humour. However, I was mildly surprised at the purchase of a cut price supermarket leg of lamb… Glad you were able to elevate it from its plebian origins to something delicious!

  • Oh I bet this is wonderful! I’ve only used a salt crust with beef, it’s been years, but now i want to do it again! Unfortunately if I made this leg of lamb I’d be the only one eating it…..

      • Yes, I’m quite sure it was a prime rib roast. It was fantastic.

  • On another note, have you ever used sous vide for a breast of turkey? Instead of a whole turkey I bought just the 2 breast piece. We won’t be eating at my house, so I thought I’d sous vide, transport it, and then do the final preparation at my daughter’s. But I can’t find any info for turkey! Any suggestions?

      • Thank you. The best I’ve found is to remove the breasts from the bone, so I might have to do that. It’s just that my butchering skills are lacking!

  • Count me among the fans of baking a whole fish in a salt crust. It is a great party stunt and almost as impressive as the beer. 😉 Alas, our dog passed away in August, so no one to give the yolks to anymore. (I hadn’t realized just how much she had helped with kitchen cleanup duties, as food often gets away from me during prep and she had learned to “vacuum” on command.) I’ve used the whites from a carton successfully. I will definitely have to try this the next time lamb is on sale.

  • I forgot to compliment you on the antique bone clamp — beats a paper pantaloon any day! 🙂

  • My mother used to make something similar, I always loved it. Great recipe, and I just love the photos! Thank you.

  • A whole fish baked in a salt crust is a thing on wonder, both for it’s simplicity and it’s deliciousness so I can imagine how good the lamb was. I always have pots of frozen egg whites in the freezer, thanks for providing another use.

  • Now if I can only find that half-priced leg of lamb…

      • Thanks so much Conor! I can certainly find a good rib of beef around here. Business is still up and running during this mild Indian Summer we are having.

  • Have normally done this with whole fish and been delighted . . . time for the method to resurface methinks! But since there definitely is no such thing as half-priced lamb of any kind in the sheep country of Australia [we need the export dollars it seems!] that may have to be a Christmas present to self and lucky friends! Oh, like your simple tasty potatoes and I am not a potato person from one month to the next 🙂 !

  • Hi Mimi, turkey breast is best sous vide at 133 degrees (56C). Time depends on the thickness. You don’t have to remove the bone. Could be nice to do a bit of a dry cure first, especially if you calculate and weigh the salt (1% salt).

  • Hi Mimi, turkey breast is best sous vide at 133 degrees (56C). Time depends on the thickness. You don’t have to remove the bone. Could be nice to do a bit of a dry cure first, especially if you calculate and weigh the salt (1% salt).

  • Hi Conor, sorry for the double reply to Mimi. I tried to put it as a reply to her question, but that didn’t work.
    Great post. I was thinking of fish when I saw salt crust. Nice idea to do this with lamb. I had never seen that before. Good thinking to rub the lamb with lemon and rosemary instead of mixing those into the salt crust as so many recipes do, as that doesn’t really work. I remember the hound’s fondness of egg yolks!

  • Stefan and Conor: The same thing has happened to me twice now . . . the blog page simply refuses to accept my comments as a reply to a particular blogger – Conor, can you do anything about the glitch in the system?

  • What an interesting idea to do with meat. Like you I knew about doing it with fish but I like this. As for the two gallons of beer, it’s not the alcohol that shocks me, it’s the amount of liquid! Whoa.

  • Awesome…… as is a butterflied whole chicken. Just make a bed of salt with a “hill” in the middle – centre the chook over the peak & 180celsius for an hour – crispy skin, no fat & the most flavoursome tender flesh you will ever eat. South American recipe, so simple & no crust required.
    Delicious & fool proof every time.

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