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with Chef Domenica Catelli

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Lamb

By Chef Domenica Catelli

Roast Lamb

It’s almost Easter Sunday. Growing up in an Italian American family, we had our Easter meal traditions. There may have been a variety of side dishes depending on the weather or what month Easter fell on in a given year, but there was one entree for certain: lamb. Usually we made a boneless leg of lamb, roasted with garlic and rosemary. Some years we varied it with rack or chops.

Some people, however, tend to hesitate when I suggest lamb for dinner. Many had bad childhood experiences with a strong, muttony, overcooked piece of meat that set the tone for the upcoming decades.

I remember one Easter dinner in particular when dear family friends joined us for a meal. They are a brother and sister in their fifties and had bonded over their dislike of lamb since they were kids, so they hated this entrée for most of their life. When I put the lamb on the table and persuaded Sugar (that’s the sister’s name) to give it a try, her brother Bill felt like she had betrayed him.  He stayed firm in his 40+-year belief that he didn’t like lamb. Sugar, throwing caution to the wind, faced her food fear and LOVED it!

Give this simple recipe a try and see if you can create some “Sugars” around your Easter table.

Roasted Rosemary Leg of Lamb

2.5-3 pounds boneless leg of lamb

6-8 fresh garlic cloves

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup fresh mint leaves

¼ cup minced fresh rosemary

Cracked black pepper

Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

If lamb is rolled or in a roast net, take out.

Mix herbs, oil, salt and pepper together.

Rub both sides of meat generously with mix while reserving 1 tablespoon.

Place lamb in a baking dish.

When oven is to temperature add lamb and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until it turns a nice golden color.

Cover loosely with foil and continue to cook for another 10-20 minutes depending on thickness of lamb and how you like your meat cooked. I prefer medium rare for taste and texture. Try to avoid well done because the meat will dry out and take on a much stronger taste.

Remove from oven and let meat rest for about 5 minutes. Slice thin, drizzle with the remaining herb and oil mix, and serve.

Makes great lamb sandwiches for leftovers as well.

Photo: Photodisc

Posted by: Chef Domenica Catelli at 3:46 pm

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