Lamb, garlic, lavender, and rosemary all grow together in Provence in the sunny south of France. Make a simple rub of fresh or dry lavender flowers, fresh rosemary, and mint. Slather it all over lamb that you've studded with garlic, and you have the taste of Provence right there on your plate. All you need is a Provençal red wine and a few vegetables and you will have a meal that will please any guest. Note that the lamb must marinate for at least two hours before using.
Serves 6 to 8
TO DRINK: Côtes du Rhône, Côte-Rôtie, Saint-Joseph, Cornas, or Crozes-Hermitage
5- to 6-pound leg of lamb, boned, excess fat removed, and butterflied3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced2 tablespoons dry or fresh lavender flowers, plus sprigs, for garnish3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilSalt and freshly ground black pepper
Serve with Creamy Polenta and Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables
Make 20 small incisions in the lamb in various places. Tuck a slice of garlic into each incision.
In a bowl, combine the lavender flowers, rosemary, mint, and olive oil. Rub the mixture over the lamb and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat a charcoal grill or broiler.
Place the lamb 4 inches from the coals on the grill or under the broiler. Cook until 1 side is golden, about 15 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper. Turn the lamb and continue to cook until medium-rare, 130° to 135°F when tested with an instant-read thermometer, about 15 minutes. Test by cutting into the thickest part. If it is slightly pink inside, remove from the grill.
Cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
Slice the lamb into thin slices across the grain and place on a platter. Garnish with the lavender sprigs before serving.
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