Cocoa-Cured Lamb Loin with Olive-Pear Relish


Lamb Loin:

  • 4 small bay leaves, finely crumbled

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 12-oz. lamb loin, trimmed

Relish and Assembly:

  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 1 small D’Anjou pear, cut into ¼” pieces

  • ½ cup pitted green olives (such as Arauco or Picholine), chopped

  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

  • ½ teaspoon hot paprika

  • ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. olive oil

  • Fleur de sel or flaky sea salt (such as Maldon; for serving)


Lamb Loin:

  1. Combine bay leaves, salt, pepper, cocoa powder, paprika, sugar, and thyme in a small bowl. Rub all over lamb loin, cover, and chill at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Relish and Assembly:

  1. Toast caraway seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, tossing pan often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes; transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with cumin and fennel seeds. Add pear, olives, thyme, piment d’Espelette, and ½ cup oil to bowl; toss to combine. Set aside.

  2. Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Drizzle lamb with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil; grill, turning occasionally, until cooked to desired doneness, 6–8 minutes for medium-rare, or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 125°. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest at least 5 minutes before thinly slicing.

  3. Serve sprinkled with fleur de sel and topped with olive-pear relish.

| Adapted from Bon Appetit