April 11 – April 17
Monday: Asparagus Frittata with Skillet Fried Potatoes, Onions and Peppers
Tuesday: Tuscan Spring Vegetable Soup
Wednesday: Salad with Pancetta, Parmesan Toast
Thursday: Creamy Pasta with Tomatoes
Friday: Oven Baked Shrimp with Crispy Cauliflower
Saturday: Pizza Margherita / Pizza with Pepperoni / Anchovies
Sunday: 7 Hour Leg of Lamb, Crispy Oven Roasted Potatoes,
Asparagus with Goat Cheese and Hazel Nuts, Tricolore Salad,
And Chocolate Cake
Yesterday, Beez and I attended a memorial Mass for our friend, Tim Hughes. I have never heard better stories or a better sermon and nothing could touch the music. Outside the Vatican, I’ll bet it was the gold medal Mass of the year. It was sad but beautiful and we had a church full of people to say goodbye to Tim, a kind, friendly and witty person. We won’t pretend that Tim was perfect which, after all, would have made him unbearable, but he was a dear friend. He never came to the house without a gift: a cake from the Oakmont Bakery, or ice cream, or a book, or, on one occasion, a crystal decanter golf trophy on which he had someone engrave my name as the 1991 PFC Club Championship Runner-up. Fantasy was one of Tim’s specialties. We will not see his like again.
Now, about that lamb we cooked on Easter . . . I saw this recipe in bon appétit in an article about an American food writer who moved to Paris and began to host dinner parties for her friends. The dinner party in the story featured “Seven-Hour Leg of Lamb.” How could I resist? But then I told She-Who-Must Be-Obeyed about my plans. In less time than you can shake a lamb’s tail, SWMBO declared: “Seven hours is way too long to cook lamb.” SWMBO is a useful brake on my cooking enthusiasms. No idle compliments come from her throne and her challenges have clearly toughened and improved my cooking.
In addition to questions about the lamb, SWMBO looked askance at the eggs rémoulade and the citrus-marinated olives I planned for appetizers, reminded me that she didn’t really like olives and finally, when she realized that my Irish was up and there was going to be a seven-hour lamb, asked if I’d like her to cook an asparagus dish she had seen on The Kitchen? I hugged her and said yes. SWMBO may be tough sometimes, but when she comes around to your point of view, there is not a better feeling in the world.
A leg of lamb is a serious bit of protein and you had better cook it like you mean it. This recipe will give you meltingly tender meat. Serving it with a spicy pepper jelly or persillade (whizzed up parsley, garlic and olive oil) is recommended. And Beez’s asparagus and a hearty salad will send your guests home wondering if you eat like this all the time.
Seven-Hour Leg of Lamb
Adapted from Rebekkah Peppler’s recipe in bon appétit, April, 2022.
You can find the recipes for eggs rémoulade and
citrus-marinated olives in the same issue.
Timing: see above and note that it depends on the size of the leg
Ingredients: We fed 6 with a 7 lb. leg of lamb and had enough left-over to make pasta with lamb ragù and, three nights later, spectacular tacos.
4-7 lb. bone-in leg of lamb
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
8 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups of dry rosé (important)
Kosher salt, ground black pepper
Persillade – 1 cup of parsley leaves with tender stems, a little grated garlic, ½ cup of olive oil, kosher salt, ground black pepper.
Preheat oven to 275 F with a rack in the middle.
Season the lamb liberally with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven (we had to use a roasting pan because of the size of our lamb – and please note, if you get a 6 or 7 lb. leg you will need two tongs and strong wrists to maneuver the thing).
Sear the lamb, turning from time to time until golden brown – 10 minutes or so.
Transfer the lamb to a platter.
Now add the onion, garlic, thyme sprigs and bay leaves to the pot and pour in the rosé and bring to a boil, deglazing the pan.
Return the lamb to the pot, cover with a lid (we used a tight seal of aluminum foil) and put in the oven. Roast until meat is very tender, nearly falling off the bone – 5-7 hours.
While the lamb is roasting and at least two hours before eating make the persillade. Pulse the parsley and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Pulse in the oil just to combine. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
When the lamb is cooked, remove it from the cooking liquid and transfer to a platter. You can strain the cooking liquid and use it in soup, to braise, or for cooking beans.
Serve the lamb with the persillade and/or a good, green pepper jelly on the side.
NOTE: There are excellent videos on how to carve a leg of lamb on the web. It’s easy.
Here’s the lamb, just out of the oven:
And here’s the sourdough we had with the soup and the salad. It’s from Pane e Pronto in the Strip District: