“White butterfly
darting among pinks –
whose spirit?”

Shiki (19th century Japanese poet)


Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet?

I first tried this method of cooking butterflied lamb on the day Andy Murray won the Wimbledon title!

Get your butcher to butterfly the meat – this will transform it from a thick compact piece of meat into a thinner, larger one. It’s cut almost completely down the middle and then opened out so that it is symmetrical – looking a little like a butterfly. It takes less long to cook of course.

It’s a very good cut of meat so it doesn’t need marinating but if you want to give it some time to infuse the flavours do steps one, two and three and put the meat in a plastic bag together with an extra 120ml/½ cup red martini; 120ml/½ cup soy (idea for this came from Rick Stein) and the rosemary. The panzanella needs to be made a day or so in advance so you may as well get the meat marinating at the same time.

Ottolenghi also marinates his butterflied lamb. He serves it either with saffron rice and a yoghurt and pomegranate sauce, or with turlu turlu which is a Turkish dish of new potatoes, courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes, yellow peppers, red onions, chick peas with coriander and yoghurt.


let’s hope the sheep were grazing on rosemary…



I serve mine with panzanella (a sort of soaked bread salad) and a green salad


Recipe for butterflied lamb


for six


  • 1 butterflied leg of lamb, with the fat trimmed off (get your butcher to do this)
  • 3 tbsps olive oil (especially nice would be maple smoked olive oil)
  • four cloves crushed garlic
  • three or four sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tbsp fennel or cumin seeds, dry fried
  • smoked salt or a teaspoon of Patum Peperium, or Umami No 5 (omit if you are using soy) and Indonesian long pepper, or even barbecue seasoning
  • redcurrent or pomegranate jelly
  • red martini to deglaze
  • panzanella to serve


  1. oil a ribbed griddle pan – get it hot. If you don’t have a griddle pan you can roast in a hot oven. Or you can barbeque it.
  2. Mix the garlic with the cumin (or fennel) seeds, the salt and pepper, and about a tablespoon of olive oil and massage the lamb with this mix
  3. Spank your rosemary!
  4. Put the sprigs of rosemary on the griddle pan, lay the meat out flat on top of them and sear it (nb you are NOT doing this to ‘seal’ in the juices – go here to find out why) on both sides for about fifteen minutes and then for another five minutes on each side.
  5. Leave to rest for five minutes minimum while you deglaze with the martini (or use the marinating juices).
  6. Serve with the pomegranate jelly and the panzanella


For other lamb recipes on Saucy Dressings, follow this link.


Andy Murray winning the Wimbledon title – a great moment.


Butterfly song, by Pink Martini