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This past Saturday, we had a few friends over for an early Easter dinner. After a few busy weekends with work, it was my first foray into the kitchen since spring goodies started to pop up at the markets.
And seeing has how it had been almost a year since we last saw English peas, baby artichokes, and the like, I may have gone a bit overboard. But, truthfully, I hardly need such an excuse!
We started with ...
Fresh Pea & Mint Crostini
I essentially used this version from Jamie Oliver, but without the favas, as the one booth at my Farmer’s Market that had them this early sold out fast. Also, he recommends keeping the peas raw, which I find to be a bit starchy, so I blanch half and keep half raw to keep it super fresh.
and for dinner...
Roasted Leg of Lamb
It was studded with bits of garlic and chopped anchovy — a tip I saw in a cookbook while buying the lamb [alas, I cannot remember the name] and from this Food 52 recipe — and a rosemary, parsley, lemon zest crust. I am not sure if it was the anchovy or just Fatted Calf’s superb meat, but it was some of the best lamb any of us had ever had!!
Fried Baby Artichokes
So good – I rarely fry because it seems super decedent and what to do with all that oil – but wow, these were such a hit! There were six of us and 8 baby artichokes since there was a full menu, but I should’ve done 12 for sure. We could’ve all gone for more. This step-by-step from Food 52 (of course) also makes them super easy.
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Made simply with olive oil and flaky salt (I skipped the rosemary, as there was plenty with the lamb), but with a trick I picked up from GOOP – first boil, then drain and shake with the lid on, to fluff up the outsides, which allows for the perfect little crust once you roast.
This traditional method keeps asparagus super simple but the additional of grated eggs and capers makes it particularly springy. You could wing it, but I used the recipe from Plenty (a favorite veg-centric cookbook).
Little Gems with Lemon Vinaigrette
This dressing from April Bloomfield is crazy good – and super puckery, which is a great balance to all the richness above.
and for dessert...
lest you think we ended there, in addition to the copious amounts of wine, dessert was a riff on this Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble from 101 cookbooks. I didn’t think we needed a whole baked option, and rhubarb hasn’t shown up quite yet, so I turned it into a sundae of sorts.
Vanilla Ice Cream with Balsamic Strawberries & Black Pepper-Pine Nut Crumble
I baked the crumb topping on its own from the recipe, and used it in place of nuts for the crunch in the sundaes, and the ice cream was my favorite vanilla from David Lebovitz.
Such a feast, combined with good company (and perhaps an impromptu dance party) made for the perfect night!