April 08, 2010

Week 7: Easter Dinner

For Easter weekend we decided to make a spring menu from the book Platter of Figs that included an asparagus salad, roast shoulder of spring lamb with beans, and rum baba with cardamom. I had been looking for a lamb dish, figuring that it would be appropriate for Easter, and Emily had been wanting to try baba al rum. So I decided to do the entire menu, just swapping out the first dish for a Mario Batali dish that I saw online—grilled asparagus wrapped with pancetta. Everything is better with pork wrapped around it.

I went to the Ferry Building farmers market for the lamb on Saturday morning. Marin Sun Farms had some nice lamb shoulder, but I accidentally bought boneless lamb leg which was in the same bin. While I was there, I picked up flageolet beans from Rancho Gordo and pancetta from Boccalone.

The beans were simmered with some onion and garlic and finished with a little thyme, salt, and pepper. Although they were cooked very simply, they tasted really good. I will have to make them again sometime.

I mostly followed the recipe for the roast, substituting leg for shoulder, of course. The only change I made was to add a rub of rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. The recipe called for roasting it with a little bit of white wine until the center hit 130°F. I also made the suggested olive relish to serve on top of the lamb. The roast turned out well, but I would have preferred it a little rarer. Pulling it out at 125°F would probably yield better results.

The rum baba was just so-so, and it was most likely my fault. The recipe for the cakes looked like an eggy brioche with multiple long rises, including an overnight one, but I neglected to read the recipe in detail before Sunday. (I had originally planned on making it on Saturday, but I didn't get around to it. I was too busy with the arrival of my iPad, kitchen shelf installation, and graffiti cleanup.) I had to rush the rises a little to get it done in time, and the cold, rainy weather didn’t help. The cake turned out too tough, but the rum syrup with cardamom and candied citrus was really good. I might make the dish again, but I want to give it a try at a restaurant first to see how it’s supposed to turn out. Emily didn’t bother with taking pictures of it this time, so that would be a good excuse for a second attempt.

Although I would make the lamb again, I learned the hard way that I shouldn't microwave the leftovers. The result was so bad that I considered tossing it and going out for lunch, but I couldn't bear to throw out the beans. I’ll either eat it cold or make sandwiches next time.

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