FOODIE: Spiced Rack of Lamb with Fresh Spring Peas

As anyone who knows me knows, any major or minor holiday is a great excuse for me to invite people over for a meal and a few hours of conversation. Easter is definitely one of those days I look forward to – an early supper accompanied by a light red wine and maybe a few cocktails. A perfect Sunday if I ever heard of one. This year I was definitely feeling traditional so I went to Fairway on the hunt for a couple of racks of lamb and maybe some fresh spring peas.

I am highly influenced by pre-prepped veggies like pre-chopped onions or pre-peeled garlic and I had the vision in my head of buying a couple of cartons of pre-shelled peas. But this was not to be. When I spied the bales of pea pods in Fairway, I had a small existential crisis. Could I imagine taking hours to shell peas today? Could I imagine my Easter dinner without the fresh peas I’d dreamed of? The fact is that I sat for about two hours the Saturday before Easter to shell fresh peas. My dreams of Easter perfection won.

The menu was pretty traditional: lamb and peas with a mint yogurt sauce and spiced rice. I really enjoyed the combination of flavors and it’s something that will work for any spring dinner, not just Easter. So try it out and let me know how yours turns out!

Spiced Rack of Lamb

(Serves 6-8)

4 lbs rack of lamb (frenched)

2 tbl smoked paprika

2 tbl ground cumin

2 tbl onion powder

1 tbl pureed garlic

salt and pepper

2 tbl olive oil

1 lemon cut into wedges

¼ cup chopped parseley

Sprinkle rack of lamb with salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat a large-bottomed pan over high heat until very hot. Coat the bottom of pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place room-temperature rack of lamb in oil, fat side down. Leave to sear approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan and let rest uncovered until cool enough to handle.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic puree until well mixed. Rub spice mixture onto browned lamb. Do not do this step before searing because the spices will burn in the hot pan. Place spiced rack of lamb onto baking sheet and place in heated oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove lamb and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice between the bones and serve chops garnished with lemon wedges and chopped parseley.

Spring Peas

2 lbs shelled fresh peas

½ cup finely chopped scallion

¼ cup finely diced chives

½ cup heavy cream

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground white pepper

Heat cream over medium flame until reduced by half. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, pepper, scallions and chives. Set aside.

Boil two quarts of water add salt until it tastes like sea water. Boil peas for 7 minutes or until tender to the bite. Drain peas thoroughly. Toss with cream and herb mixture. Serve warm.

– Nichelle

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