In wishing a happy Independence Day to all of my friends here in the Philippines, I decided to showcase some of the best local agricultural products from right here in the Philippines.
I’ve spent just over a year here scouring the markets for the best local products and I have learned a few things. For one, there is phenomenal lamb raised in Negros Occidental. I purchased this leg of Spring lamb from a vendor in the Salcedo Market. I’ve bought lamb from them twice now and the quality was superb both times.
Just across the way, in the same market there is a vendor selling local cashews, done. The cashews are raw and very sweet. He sells them all unsalted but the salt is not missed.
Cashew Crusted Leg of Spring Lamb
1 bone-in leg of lamb
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
2-3 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlics, chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Remove the leg of lamb from the fridge a good hour or so before beginning so that it warms up to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 200c/400f.
Pat the leg of lamb dry with paper towels. Drizzle olive oil on the lamb and smear all over the surface. Season liberally with salt and pepper all around.
Place on a roasting rack or a sheet pan lined with a wire rack and pop it in the oven.
Allow to roast for about 30 minutes or so, until it begins to color. Turn temperature down to 160c/325f.
While your lamb is roasting (you could also do this ahead of time) prepare your crust. Mix together Dijon, honey, herbs, garlic and shallots.
Pulse your cashews in a food processor, or if your like me, pound them in a mortar and pestle. I like irregular pieces of cashew for texture.
Monitor the internal temperature of your lamb with an instant read thermometer. Stick the probe into the thickest part of the meat without contacting the bone. When the temperature reaches about 50c/120f remove it from the oven and increase the temperature to 175c/350f.
Smear the Dijon mixture all over the top of your leg of lamb. Then sprinkle your crushed cashews over that until you have a nice even and thick coating.
Return it to the oven. Monitor it closely at this stage so that the nuts do not burn. When the cashews are nicely toasted, remove it from the oven and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes in a warm place (like the Philippines).
When it’s time to carve, pick up the narrow end by the bone, resting the fat end on the cutting board. Cut straight through the meat, perpendicular to the bone. Then cut following the bone to create nice half circle cuts of meat. It’s always best to carve thicker cuts of crusted meats or you will lose your crusting when you carve it.
Depending on how your lamb is butchered, you will be left with a leg, thigh and hip bone. There will also be some meaty trim left on the bones. Do not waste!
There is plenty of flavor still to offer here. The trim I removed with a paring knife and marinated for shawarma and the bones went into the lentils pictured above.
Enjoy your holiday!