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Easter Dinner


It seems it’s been a while since I made a full blown dinner.  It probably hasn’t been that long, but sometimes life is so hectic that eating happens while the rest of life is passing by instead of really being enjoyed as it should and it doesn’t stay in my mind without a conscious review of recent meals.  So Sunday, I took the opportunity to make a spring dinner that brought together all the elements that remind me most of the season:  asparagus, lamb and lemon. 
I started planning the meal when I noticed the thick cut lamp chops that I love and that lend themselves so well to grilling.  A tray of those went into my cart and then the rest of the meal came together.  Asparagus are the epitome of spring – they are green, smell a bit grassy, and are one of the first vegetables to break soil once winter has passed.  Lemon and spring are, for me, destined to be intertwined.  For all of my years my family’s Easter dessert has always been lemon meringue pie.  I love it!  This year, though I decided to try something a little different. 
The first thing I did was marinate the lamb chops.  I placed them in a gallon zip-lock along with a little olive oil, red wine vinegar, four or five cloves of minced garlic, a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary and a generous tablespoon of culinary lavender.  I let the lamb marinade in the fridge for about 5 hours, occasionally turning the bag to make sure all of the lamb was evenly marinated.  About an hour before I put it on the grill I moved it out to the countertop and let it finish there.  I prefer to grill meat that is at room temperature as it grills more evenly and it’s easier to control how well done you cook it. 
A couple hours before the meal I boiled potatoes, them mashed them with lots of butter, milk, roasted garlic cloves (I’d roasted a couple heads of garlic a few days prior), and about a 1/2 cup each of grated mozzarella and Parmesan.  Once the potatoes are mixed with all the other ingredients you place them in a buttered casserole.  Once in the casserole add a bit more grated cheese to the top and heat them at 425°F for about 30 minutes – the cheese will be melted and browned and the potatoes will look a little "fluffy".  You can use any "twice-baked" potato recipe for this dish or just make up your own.  Just make sure you use enough milk or other liquid (you could use broth or sour cream) so that they are really creamy to start as they do dry a bit while baking.  These can sit at room temperature for an hour or so before baking.  For longer times keep them in the fridge but let them come back to room temperature before placing in the oven. 
When eating lamb I like to include something Greek influenced and often that will be the salad as it was for this meal.  You can use any measurements that please you but the vegetables I use are sliced cucumbers, thinly sliced onions, tomato wedges, olives and feta cheese.  I marinate the vegetables for an hour or so before the meal in a mix of apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon juice, water, splash of olive oil, a little sugar and salt and pepper – let your tongue guide you to the combination you find most pleasing but the dressing should be a little tart.  To serve the salad drain the dressing and sprinkle crumbled feta over the top. 
Once all of that was prepared I mixed up the Lemon Custard Cakes from a Martha Stewart recipe.
Finally, I trimmed the asparagus, rinsed them, shook off the excess water and tossed them with a little bit of olive oil. 
Once the potatoes were in the oven and had been baking about 15 minutes, I fired up the grill.   On went the lamb and the asparagus. The asparagus were done in about 5 minutes.  I placed them on the platter, squeezed a bit of fresh lemon juice over them (it really brightens the flavor!) and sprinkled them with a little coarse sea salt.  At that time I also turned the lamb. 
The lamb takes about 5 to 7 minutes per side – these were really thick cut.  For a bit I thought I’d over cooked them but it turned out they were close to medium-rare which, in my mind, is perfect for lamb.  Once they were on the platter I brushed them with a bit of lavender jam I’d been heating. 
The potatoes and lamb were done about the same time – either would be okay being done a bit earlier than the other.  Then the only thing to do was to put it all out on the table and enjoy!  
I served this with Dunham Cellars Trutina – a wine good enough that it will get it’s own blog post!     
  1. Michael permalink
    25-Mar-2008 8:35 pm

    Wow…  I\’ve been complaining a bit lately of "cooker\’s block," or something like that.  You just cured that!  I\’ll have to give this a go soon.
    You should know that our Easter Eve meal was roasted chicken per your recipe from a 3/8/2007 post.  I hope to give more feedback about that soon.  It was a bit of a challange for me, but your instuctions about it were easy.
    I think the meal you describe here (less the cake) fits in well with how I like to cook.  I will revisit this soon!
    Yes, the peaches got crisped!
    I appreciate…

  2. Jill permalink
    26-Mar-2008 7:55 am

    just wanted you to know that you inspire me to put more effort into my family\’s meals…..thanks for taking the time to include pictures with your descriptions of great food.   =D

  3. Unknown permalink
    27-Mar-2008 7:47 pm

    Wow – those are amazing photos.  I love the way the asparagus looks.  I followed Vegetables ideas (alice waters) and used ginger for one of the first times.  holy cow!!  it was good, but this looks amazing as well…
    did you / anyone see thomas keller on charlie rose?  wow.  what a cool interview.  check it out at
    roasted chicken.  both of their favorite meals.  mmmmm

  4. Culinary permalink
    28-Mar-2008 6:45 am

    Bubba:  Glad to be of service and looking forward to your feedback regarding the chicken. 
    Jill:  That\’s a great compliment!  Thanks and have fun!
    No name:  Thanks!  I\’ll check out the interview. 

  5. HEDGE permalink
    28-Mar-2008 8:00 pm

    Hi … just passing thru.  Your blog is making me hungry!  Someone who loves food!  :)

  6. Culinary permalink
    29-Mar-2008 8:07 am

    Hi Hedge,
    Thanks for stopping by!
    ~ B

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