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Apr 12, 2019 2:18 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Celebrate Easter With Roman-Style Lamb Chops

Asparagus a’la Milanaise before running under the broiler. JANEEN SARLIN
Apr 15, 2019 12:47 PM

Here’s a seasonal menu for an Easter celebration or a lovely dinner party. Warm Asparagus a’La Milanaise is a perfect first course. Look for tight budded asparagus tips, avoiding any frizzy tops. Cut off the bottom of the stems and stand the asparagus up in water as if they were flowers, cover the stalks with a plastic bag and refrigerate until ready to prepare.

The recipe for pistachio crusted lamb chops with roman style artichokes is adapted from Cucina Lorenzo De’Medici in Florence where I studied last week!

Look for unblemished purple baby artichokes with about three to four inch stems. You will find them in the produce department at specialty stores. I recommend buying a rack of lamb. Ask your butcher to cut it into double lamb chops or do it yourself. For plating, you’ll split the double chops in half (see the recipe).

Complete the main course with herbed couscous. For dessert serve fresh berries with whipped cream and cookies or a fruit tart from your favorite store. Bon appetit!

Asparagus A’ La Milanaise

(Serves 4)

1 to 2 pounds fresh asparagus, stalks peeled

About 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

To prepare:

With a vegetable peeler, peel the stalks and with your hands and break off the bottoms of the stalks. It will snap off at the best place. Trim if necessary.

In a large pan of boiling salted water or in a steamer, cook the asparagus until crunch tender. Transfer immediately to a pan of cold running water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.

Lightly coat the bottom of an oval heatproof dish with olive oil and lightly sprinkle cheese on the oil. Arrange the asparagus in overlapping rows in the dish. Sprinkle the head of each row with a little Parmesan cheese.

Just before serving, preheat the broiler. Drizzle a few drops of oil over the heads and glaze lightly under the broiler about 1 minute.

Lamb Chops in a Pistachio Crust with Roman Style Artichokes and Fresh Mint

(Serves 4 with seconds)

8 baby artichokes, with about 3- to 4-inch stems

4 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled

Extra virgin olive oil for sautéing

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

4 to 8 double lamb chops with rib bone, trimmed of excess fat

About 1 cup roasted pistachios, chopped

Several fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced

High quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

To prepare:

Holding onto the stem of the artichoke, with your fingers pull off several rows of the baby artichoke leaves until one-inch of the yellow/green appears at the bottom of the artichoke, discard the outer leaves. With the tip of a very sharp paring knife, remove the skin of the stems and discard. Cut each artichoke into lengthwise quarters. Remove the fuzzy choke inside the artichoke and discard it.

With the side of a chef knife, smash the garlic but keep skin intact.

In a saucepan over moderate high heat, coat the bottom with oil, add a pinch of salt to the oil and when hot, add garlic and artichokes and sauté until the artichokes are golden brown. Deglaze the pan with wine or vermouth. Add pepper and mint, cover the pan, lower the heat, and cook until soft and tender, (add water if necessary) about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

For the lamb chops:

Place pistachios on a shallow tray or pie plate; shake the pan to make an even layer of nuts on the pan and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over both sides of the lamb chops. Dredge both sides of the chops with pistachios, pressing the nuts into the meat.

In a skillet over high heat, add a few drops of olive oil to the pan. Holding the chops with tongs, sear the outside edges of the chops until they are brown. Finally, sear both sides until brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a shallow baking sheet and roast about 5 minutes or until done according to personal preference.

Meanwhile, reheat the artichokes until hot.

Remove the lamb chops from the oven. With a very sharp knife, slice between the bones, creating two servings. Transfer the chops to the center of a warm dinner plate, arrange artichokes around the lamb chops, and garnish with one whole clove of cooked garlic (including the skin) and fresh mint leaves.

WHOLE GRAIN COUSCOUS WITH HERBS

(Serves 4)

2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for drizzling

1 large shallot, chopped

1 cup whole grain couscous

2 to 2 1/2 cups good quality chicken stock, boiling

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 bunch scallions, chopped

About 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley and fresh mint

To prepare:

In a heavy medium saucepan over high heat, coat the bottom with oil. Add shallot and sauté briefly until aromatic, add couscous and chicken stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer until the couscous is tender and the stock is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add more stock if necessary and cook until the couscous is tender.

Stir scallions and herbs into the hot couscous, taste and adjust the seasonings. Let stand about 5 minutes, fluff with a fork and serve at once.

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