Lamb-loving cultures have been dressing up their meat with spicy, citrusy, or pungent condiments for over a thousand years. Whip these up the night before your lamb roast to have them on hand with no added stress.
Chimichurri is perfect for a fresh, bright, citrusy taste on your lamb. Combine 1 to 2 fistfuls each of fresh parsley and cilantro with a bit of olive oil, garlic, and a pinch of cayenne, red pepper flakes, or fresh jalapeño. Blitz the mixture in a food processor or blender. Some people add a bit of oregano and vinegar or lemon juice to the mix, so feel free to experiment a bit!
North African Harissa
Some people can’t eat anything without hot sauce. Instead of a bottle of store-bought sauce, introduce them to a smoky version with homemade harissa paste.
In a cast-iron pan, toast about 2 tablespoons combined of coriander, cumin, and caraway seeds to give the spices a little extra flavor. Set the spices aside. Add 1 to 2 tablespoon of olive oil, and then fry a few cloves of garlic, 1/2 onion, and a handful of your favorite hot peppers over medium heat. Be patient and wait until the mixture is deeply colored and almost caramelized, about 12 minutes. Combine with the spices and 1 to 2 roasted red peppers, and blend thoroughly.
The mixture should make a thick paste rich with complicated flavor and heat. Be sure to let your guests know this sauce is spicy when you set it out at your roast!
Detroit has one of the largest Arab-American communities in the United States, so the flavorful, pungent Lebanese garlic dip called toum is a childhood favorite of mine.
To make your own toum, combine 12 garlic cloves with a pinch of salt and lemon juice, and blitz in a food processor. Add 1 to 2 egg whites to the mix. Slowly drizzle in about 1 cup of olive oil while running the processor, pausing about halfway through to add a bit more lemon juice. When combined, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of ice water to the mixture and watch it fluff up into a delicious, strongly flavored garlic dip.