I’m a home cook who’s always shied away from experimenting on the holidays. I’ve always believed since special holiday meals only happen once a year that traditions should be kept when it comes to choosing what to make. However, this Easter I’m considering bending a rule by adding this unique ingredient to my juicy and flavorful roasted lamb: chopped nuts!
Why are nuts and lamb a match made in heaven?
Two very common sources of protein — a red meat like lamb and a snack such as nuts — might not seem like a natural fit. But a holiday rack or leg of lamb could do well with the addition of chopped nuts to the outside of the meat for a flavor and texture boost.
This trick helps form a perfect crust that acts as a seal for the lamb’s juices, giving it a crispy coating without having to cook the meat longer in the oven (say goodbye to tough and chewy lamb). Plus, lamb’s strong earthy and gamey taste works well with the naturally nutty flavor of pistachios, almonds, or walnuts.
2 Ways to Coat Lamb With Chopped Nuts
Coating a cut of lamb with chopped nuts can be done one of two ways. One method is to sear the meat in a pan first. This step caramelizes the meat and begins building layers of flavor within the roast.
Chef John Mitzewich then spreads a layer of Dijon mustard onto the seared rack of lamb before coating it in a roasted pistachio and breadcrumb mixture. (You can find his recipe for pistachio-crusted rack of lamb on the Food Wishes blog or watch the video below to see how it’s made.)
Another method is to place the nut mixture while the meat is raw like this recipe for herb and almond crusted leg of lamb by Fisher Nuts calls for. It’s a much quicker way to prepare this dish as searing a leg of lamb can take longer than lamb chops due to its larger size.
Who knew using this everyday snack to coat a roast lamb would give the meat a unique flavor and texture? If you’re like me and considering trying it out for Easter dinner this year, just be sure that your guests don’t have a nut allergy.
If you’d rather not stray too far from tradition, you can still get the most tender and flavorful roast possible with these simple tips!
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