Arctic Thyme Cured Icelandic Lamb

Cooking time: 4 days | 12 persons

This dish is regularly on the menu of Chef Gisli Matt at the restaurant Slippurinn in the Vestmann Islands of Iceland. Curing with wild foraged Arctic Thyme is what sets the recipe apart from most cured lamb and really makes it truly Icelandic. 

Arctic Thyme has the fragrance of lavender, the sweetness of honey, and the sharpness of regular thyme, which pairs beautifully with the lamb. Serve it like carpaccio with layers of other flavors. We suggest using goat cheese for acidity and fat, while roasted sunchoke purée gives a hint of nutty sweetness, while black salsify chips add a touch of salt and mountain sorrel acidity.

The recipe is from Chef Gisli Matt´s book Slippurinn: Recipes And Stories From Iceland published by Phaidon 2021.


Cured Lamb

  • 1.2 kg top round of lamb muscle (2-3 pieces)
  • 320 g sea salt
  • 140 g raw sugar
  • 50 g dried Arctic thyme
  • 20 g fresh thyme
  • 8 g dried mushrooms powdered
  • 8 g red peppercorns
  • 6 g black peppercorns
  • 2 g juniper berries
  • 6 g star anise
  • 10 g fennel seeds
  • 8 g coriander seeds

Clean the meat and trim off any fat. Mix the remaining ingredients well, cure the lamb by rubbing a good amount of the mixture both under and on top of each muscle. Let sit in a wrapped pan in the refrigerator for 1 ½ to 2 days, then carefully dust off the spices and wipe dry. Layout the pieces on a resting rack under a fan in a cooler and let dry for 2 days. Pack it in plastic. Don’t seal too tightly. Place in the freezer. It’s sliced frozen very thin and each portion should be about 60 g. 

Sunchoke purée

  • 300 gr Sunchokes
  • 10 ml vegetable oil
  • 100 gr butter
  • 150 ml heavy cream
  • 10 ml sherry vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Clean and slice the Sunchokes, sautée in a pan with the oil until it starts to caramelize, add half the butter and keep cooking until well browned. Add the cream and cook until the Sunchokes are tender, move to a blender and blend, add the remaining ingredients, and season. 

To plate:

  • 160 g  goat cheese, preferably smoked
  • 160 g roasted sunchoke purée 
  • 80 g black salsify chips, thinly sliced and deep fried
  • 80 g mountain sorrel

When serving; lay the sliced lamb on the bottom of the plate and place the goat cheese and sunchoke purée in small dots all around with the salsify chips and mountain sorrel, so in every bite you get a little taste of everything.