This is not your traditional springtime lamb roast studded with garlic and served with mint (which is always a good option, of course). Instead, this roast veers to North Africa with a generous smear of chermoula, a heady concoction of aromatic spices, fresh herbs, chiles and garlic. Consider it a spring fling for culinary travelers.
Chermoula is a flavorful and versatile condiment in Moroccan, Libyan and Tunisian cuisines. It’s used as a marinade and garnish for fish, meats and vegetables, and it can also be swirled into rice and couscous dishes. Recipes for chermoula vary from region to region and cook to cook, but the gist is to use fistfuls of fresh green herbs, such as parsley, cilantro and mint, and plenty of spice, such as cumin and coriander. Though it’s a long list of ingredients, it’s easily blitzed in a food processor in just a few minutes. The end result should be bright, sharp and aromatic with a kick of heat. Ideally, toast and grind whole spices for best flavor, but pre-ground spices will do just fine. You also can buy chermoula spice blends in some supermarkets and online.
The meat is served over a platter of spring greens, lightly dressed with lemon and olive oil. Choose a selection of sturdy greens that are a mix of bitter, peppery and sweet. The cooking juices from the lamb will slightly wilt leaves, for a refreshing contrast that mirrors the season. And, for best flavor results, begin marinating the lamb the night before roasting.