Butterflied Lamb with Garlic, Lemon, Spinach, and Feta Cheese


  • 1 leg of American lamb, 5 to 6 pounds, boned and butterflied

  • 12 cloves garlic, cut into slivers

  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Sea salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • Olive oil

  • 2 shallots, chopped

  • 2 9 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

  • 1 lemon, zester and juices Solid wooden toothpicks or butcher's twine, soaked in water for 30 minutes

  • ¾ cup white wine


  1. Pat the lamb dry with paper towels. Early in the day, place the lamb in a large nonreactive dish. Using a small paring knife, cut several ½-inch deep slits across the surface of the meat on both sides and insert a garlic sliver into each. (If there are already slits in the meat from the butchering process, stuff those holes before cutting new ones.) Rub the oregano evenly over the meat on each side. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. Preheat a heavy-bottomed sauté pan with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the shallots and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Remove from the heat to a medium bowl, and set aside. Squeeze all the excess water out of the spinach, and then mix it with the shallots. Add thee feta and zest. Mix until well combined. Spread the spinach mixture evenly over the meat and, using your hands, roll up the lamb. Fasten the ends with toothpicks or secure with twine.

  3. Whisk together the wine, ½ cup of oil, and the lemon juice and pour it over the meat. Marinate the lamb, covered in the refrigerator, turning it 3 or 4 times, for at least 6 and up to 12 hours.

  4. About 20 minutes before you are ready to grill, build a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill.

  5. Remove the meat from the marinade, letting any excess drip back into the pan. Discard marinade. Place the lamb in the center of the cooking grate, tooth-pick side down, over indirect medium heat. Cover and grill for 45 to 55 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 140°F (medium-rare). Let the lamb rest for 15-20 minutes, then carve it into thin slices and serve warm.

Courtesy of Elizabeth Karmel, Taming the Flame (Wiley Publishing, 2005)

Main Dishes, LambElizabeth Karmel