Two Catholics, four Jews, and a Muslim sat down to dinner – sounds like the beginning of a joke, huh? But no joke, we did all sit down to dinner and had a great, convivial meal. This was not really an Easter dinner but since it took place on Easter Sunday we called it that. This was a much anticipated event since one of the guests, Ann, arrived early and collaborated with me in the kitchen. It was quite fun to see food preparation through her eyes, hands, and tastes – she cooks from the heart.
Ann and I met several weeks ago to plan a menu and divide up responsibilities. We decided upon a leg of lamb, two or three side dishes, bread, and a dessert. We considered three different lamb preparations before we settled upon a boneless, stuffed leg. Ann decided to fix Crispy Smashed Potatoes, and the Passover favorite, Bitter Herb Salad. I added my friend Susan’s Fantastic Raw Cranberry Relish (yes cranberries are available in the frozen foods). For dessert I suggested a white chocolate and spiced pear trifle.
Hors D’eourvres – Ann served a wonderful dish of toasted baguette slices, meltingly sweet caramelized onion, and a dollop of ricotta cheese, along with a delicious cheese plate.
Apricot and Herb Stuffed Leg of Lamb – This was the second time I’ve prepared this dish, the first time was good but over-cooked. This time, perfect! Stuff and tie the lamb the day before so all you need to do is slide it into the oven the day of. Tender, juicy, delicious! I left the mint out because one guest doesn’t care for mint – I substituted the sensational Duerr’s Mint Sauce served on the side.
Crispy Smashed Potatoes – Assorted, colorful baby potatoes, boiled, smashed, drizzled with olive oil and herbs, and baked crispy. I could make a meal of just this dish.
Bitter Herbs Salad – Fresh baby arugula, radicchio, romaine, and dill, in a lemony vinaigrette. The perfect palate-cleansing dish.
Dill Casserole Bread – The all-time family favorite! If you’re lucky enough to have some left over it makes the best ever toast for breakfast!
For dessert, White Chocolate & Spiced Pear Trifle. So delicious! Not the easiest dish to prepare but the reaction when you bring this to the table it is worth the effort. I like to increase the cardamom and cinnamon used to poach the pears.