Harissa-rubbed leg of lamb is fit for any special Sunday meal

Just when you think there are no new recipes or cooking techniques, America’s Test Kitchen comes in with a surprise, like blooming spices for this harissa-rubbed lamb in the microwave.

This dish is from one of the company's new books, "How to Roast Everything: A Game-Changing Guide to Building Flavor in Meat, Vegetables, and More" (America's Test Kitchen, $35)," which shows how you can build flavor by roasting everything from chicken, beef and pork roasts to broccoli, potatoes and peaches.

After rubbing this boneless leg of lamb — or a pork or beef roast — with the homemade harissa paste, you’ll brown the outside of the lamb before finishing in the oven to a juicy medium-rare. In another genius step, the editors then toss cauliflower florets with the pan drippings and roast them until they are tender and browned.

When mixed with carrots, raisins, cilantro and toasted almonds, the cauliflower makes a side that’s perfectly paired with this North African-inspired lamb. If you can’t find Aleppo pepper, substitute 3/4 teaspoon paprika and 3/4 teaspoon finely chopped red pepper flakes.

Harissa-Rubbed Roast Boneless Leg of Lamb with Cauliflower Salad

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground dried Aleppo pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds

Salt and pepper

1 (3 1/2‑ to 4‑pound) boneless half leg of lamb, trimmed and pounded to 3/4‑inch thickness

1 head cauliflower (2 pounds), cored and cut into 1‑inch florets

1/2 red onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus extra for seasoning

Combine 6 tablespoons oil, garlic, paprika, coriander, Aleppo pepper, cumin, caraway seeds and 1 teaspoon salt in bowl and microwave until bubbling and very fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring halfway through microwaving. Let cool to room temperature.

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Set V-rack in large roasting pan and spray with vegetable oil spray. Lay roast on cutting board with rough interior side (which was against bone) facing up and rub with 2 tablespoons spice paste. Roll roast and tie with kitchen twine at 1 1/2-inch intervals, then rub exterior with 1 tablespoon oil.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown lamb on all sides, about 8 minutes. Brush lamb all over with remaining spice paste and place fat side down in prepared V-rack. Roast until thickest part registers 125 degrees (for medium-rare), flipping lamb halfway through roasting. Transfer lamb to carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest while making salad.

Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees. Pour all but 3 tablespoons fat from pan; discard any charred drippings. Add cauliflower, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to pan and toss to coat. Cover with aluminum foil and roast until cauliflower is softened, about 5 minutes.

Remove foil and spread onion evenly over cauliflower. Roast until vegetables are tender and cauliflower is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting. Transfer vegetable mixture to serving bowl, add carrots, ­raisins, cilantro, almonds, and lemon juice and toss to combine. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Slice leg of lamb into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with salad. Serves 6 to 8.

— From "How to Roast Everything: A Game-Changing Guide to Building Flavor in Meat, Vegetables, and More" (America's Test Kitchen, $35)

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