The four-day weekend bonanza of Easter is upon us, and as well as inducing chocolate consumption at an industrial scale, the holiday also gives the more culinarily inclined of us an excuse to linger a little longer in the kitchen and take a little more time and pleasure in the preparation of dinner.
Lamb is, of course, the traditional accompaniment to chocolate eggs, but rather than going for the conventional leg roast, we asked the renowned London cookery school L’Atelier des Chefs to share an Easter-appropriate lamb recipe for something a touch more refined.
In a matter of minutes, they came back with this – an elegant, dinner-party dish that combines the tastes of the classic English Easter with the refined, herb-enhanced flavours of Provence…
For the lamb
6 racks of lamb (three chops thick)
3 bulbs of garlic
3 rosemary sprigs
For the sauce
4 red peppers
5ml olive oil
30g pitted black olives
For the vegetables
3 spring onions
2 red peppers
6 young ‘Violet de Provence’ artichokes
250g frozen broad beans
1 fennel bulb
- 1 thyme sprig
6 turns of freshly ground black pepper
6 pinches fine salt
15ml olive oil
1. To make the sauce, preheat the grill in your oven to 220°C. Grill the peppers for 10 minutes, turning to cook on all sides. Remove from the grill.
2. When they’re cool enough to handle, peel the peppers remove the seeds. Chop the flesh. Mix the red pepper flesh with the olive oil and a little water and cook on the hob until you have a thick purée. Quarter the black olives and add them to the sauce.
3. To make the vegetables, top and tail the courgette and cut it into small cubes. Peel and finely chop the spring onions. Peel and dice the two red peppers and dice the fennel.
4. Prepare the artichokes by removing the outer leaves and then the choke. Peel the stem and then cut the artichoke into thin slices – drizzle lemon juice over the artichoke to prevent it from browning.
5. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the broad beans for 4 minutes. Remove them from the pan and place in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process, then drain. Remove the skins with your fingers.
6. Heat the olive oil and thyme in a saucepan. Add the spring onions and cook for 3 minutes. Next, add the red peppers and cook for a further 3 minutes before adding the fennel. Cook for a further 5 minutes and then add the artichokes. After 3 more minutes add the courgette. Cook for 3 more minutes then add the broad beans. Check the seasoning.
7. To make the lamb, preheat the oven to 200°C/180ºC fan. Peel the garlic and rub the cloves onto the racks of lamb. Spike the lamb with the rosemary sprigs.
8. Heat a frying pan to hot and sear the lamb on all sides. Transfer to a baking tray and finish cooking in the oven for 6–7 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
9. Serve the racks with the Provençal vegetables (you can use a chef’s ring to shape them if you want them to show the same flair as the picture above), and drizzle with the red pepper sauce.