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Roast lamb with apple & asparagus salad

Serves 6
PREP 30mins 
COOK 1hr 25mins


1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic bulb
1.5kg easy-carve lamb leg
2 rosemary sprigs, broken small sprigs
12 eschalots, peeled
1 bunch asparagus, peeled, trimmed
2 golden delicious apples
100g baby spinach
1/2 bunch dill, fronds only
1 bunch tarragon, leaves only
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves only
1/4 cup (35g) shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
1/4 cup (40g) blanched almonds, roasted, roughly chopped

mustard dressing
grated rind of 1/2 lemon, plus 1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil


 Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Toast cumin seeds in a small frying pan on medium heat for 1-2 mins, until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and roughly grind. Stir in olive oil and a pinch of salt. Season with freshly ground pepper. Set aside.

2 Separate garlic cloves. Peel two cloves and thickly slice. Make small incisions in skin of lamb and insert rosemary and garlic slices. Place lamb in a roasting pan and brush with cumin mixture. Roast for 35 mins, then add eschalots and remaining garlic cloves to pan. Roast for another 45 mins for medium, or until lamb is cooked to your liking.

Meanwhile, to make dressing, mix together lemon rind and juice, mustard and honey. Whisk in oil and season to taste. Set aside.

Cut asparagus diagonally into 5cm lengths. Bring a small saucepan of water to boil on high heat. Add a pinch of salt and asparagus, and cook for 2 mins, until tender crisp. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain on paper towel.

Core apple and cut into 2cm pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add asparagus, baby spinach, dill, tarragon, parsley, pistachios and almonds. Drizzle over dressing. Gently toss to combine. Serve with roast lamb, eschalots and garlic.


Tip- Use a meat thermometer to check when the lamb is done to your liking. Test the thickest part of the meat. As a guide, it’ll read 60C for rare, 65C for medium-rare, 70C for medium and 75C for well done.



 Gary's secrets

•  Easy-carve lamb is a leg with the chump end removed. It is rolled and tied into a uniform shape, so it cooks evenly and is easy to carve into individual portions. Easy-carve lamb legs are available from butchers or use lamb shoulder, on or off the bone.

•  Roasting the lamb at a slightly lower temperature will reduce the amount of moisture lost during cooking. I reckon the flavour is better, too.

•  Experiment with different combinations of herbs and spices – sumac, coriander, oregano and thyme are all lovely with roast lamb.

•  To vary the colour and flavour of the salad, try using different leaves, such as witlof, radicchio and frisée. Hazelnuts and sliced fennel would also work well in this dish. 

Miso Salmon with Cucumber & Mint Salad

PREP 25mins plus marinating
COOK 10mins


4 x 150g salmon fillets
1 1/2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp brown rice miso paste
2 cups (160g) beansprouts, washed
1 cup coriander leaves, plus extra to serve
1 cup mint
2 lebanese cucumbers
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 tbsp pickled ginger
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced lime cheeks, to serve

asian dressing
1 eschalot, finely chopped
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
pinch of japanese mustard powder or wasabi powder 


Tips: Brown rice miso paste, also labelled as genmai miso paste, is sold at health food stores and selected Asian grocers.

  Using a long sharp knife, slice skin of salmon. Use fingers to feel for pin bones and use fish tweezers to pull from salmon. Place fish on a tray. Stir to combine mirin and miso paste in a small bowl. Brush marinade over salmon, cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill for 30 mins.

2 Meanwhile, pinch straggly brown ends from beansprouts. Place beansprouts and herbs in a bowl of iced water to keep crisp.

3 Peel alternative strips of skin from cucumber and cut diagonally into thick slices. Combine beansprouts, herbs, cucumber and half of sesame seeds. Add pickled ginger with half of dressing and toss to combine.

Heat half of oil in a small frying pan on medium. Add garlic and cook for 30-40 secs, until light golden brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towl. Set aside.

Brush a chargrill with remaining oil and heat on medium. Cook salmon, brushing with marinade, for 6 mins, until cooked. Top with salmon, garlic, remaining seeds and extra coriander. Serve with lime cheeks and remaining dressing.


Gary’s secrets 
 •   I love both ocean trout and salmon. They are similar in colour, texture and flavour, and are packed full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

 •  We are quite used to eating sashimi, and these days eating both salmon and ocean trout pink, or even rare, is no problem for many of us.


Blue Swimmer Crab & Avocado Salad

PREP 1hr
COOK 1hr


1 garlic bulb
2 tbsp olive oil
12 thin slices ficelle or thin sourdough baguette
1kg uncooked blue swimmer crabs
500g kipfler potatoes, scrubbed
2 avocados
100g micro or baby greens

sesame dressing
finely grated rind of 1 lemon, plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp black sesame seeds


  Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Place garlic bulb on a piece of foil. Drizzle 1 tsp of oil over garlic, then wrap in foil. Place on a baking tray and bake for 45 mins, until very soft. Cool.

2 Meanwhile, brush bread slices with remaining oil and place on a baking tray. Bake for 5-6 mins, until golden and crisp. Squeeze garlic from roasted cloves and spread over croutons. Set aside.

3  Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil on high heat. Add crabs, reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 mins, until shells are very pink. Drain and cool.

To prepare cooked crab, remove legs by twisting where joined to body. To remove claws, pull from body. Lift abdominal flap and prise away top shell. Remove and discard any excess water, stomach sac and hard membrane from inside shell. Remove and discard spongy “dead man’s fingers” (soft gills) from body of crab. Rinse to remove any yellow or brown “mustard” (edible innards). Using a sharp knife, cut bodies in half. Using fingers or a small knife, pick out and flake meat. Crack claws and legs, and use a crab pick or skewer to remove meat. Place crabmeat in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

5 Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of salted simmering water on medium heat for 12-15 mins, until just tender. Drain and cool.

Peel potatoes and thickly slice. Peel avocados and cut into large chunks. Arrange potato, avocado, crab and micro greens on a serving platter. Place croutons in and around salad and drizzle over dressing. Serve.


Gary’s secrets 
 •   Blue swimmer crab is one of only a few varieties not sold live as it doesn’t survive well once caught. When buying uncooked crabs, look for brightly coloured specimens that feel heavy for their size, with legs and claws intact.

 •  Fresh seafood has a pleasant sea smell – a whiff of ammonia is a sign to leave it alone. If the fishmonger is busy, it usually indicates the produce is fresh.

 •  Store crabs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

 • You can use a frozen crab for this recipe. Opt for an uncooked crab and steam it for best results.


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