Thou shalt not waste a feast day, was the unexpected commandment uppermost in my mind when I bought the rack of lamb from On the Edge Farm last Saturday. Just because it would be just Leo and me at the table on Easter was no reason not to eat well.
Out front, in the Co-op, thinking about a citrusy salad to complement the richness of the meat, I chose a grapefruit and an avocado, for the sharp tang against the voluptuous. The avocados were hard, but I remembered Peter's admonishment that most people buy avocados too soft, so I selected one with just a hint of 'give'. Cilantro and limes were already mine, and Paul from Foggy Meadow had already given me a red onion.I had garlic. What else?
Gabrielle was at the check-out counter about to buy a lovely rosemary plant and that jolted me into looking for one myself. You need Rosemary for proper lamb, don't you? But woe was me, Gabrielle's was the last one to be had. Oh well!
I followed Gabrielle at the checkout counter and just as I was paying for my wards she whirled and said to me, "This is yours. It's paid for. I want you to have it! No. No. It's yours," and thrust that rosemary plant at me.
How sweet is that?
Easter day was dynamically cold. I took Mo, the old poodle, for a walk (rather HE took me, dragging and yanking just like the wind), and nearly froze my fingers off. At about 3, when I came back into the warm house, I trimmed the rack of lamb, crushed garlic with rosemary and coarse salt in the mortar, and rubbed the rack all over with it. I cut the peel from the grapefruit and cut out the segments between the membranes, then sliced the avocado.
The best way to handle an avocado, of course, is to halve it, give a light, deft,chop into the pit with a sharp knife, give it a good twist to remove the pit, and then take a silver knife and slice each half, still in its stiff skin, into thin slices. Then you can turn the skin inside-out or, with the knife, pry and scrape the slices out of the skin.
I added some crushed and chopped garlic, finely chopped cilantro, and thinly sliced red onion to the bowl with the grapefruit segments and avocado slices, ground coarse salt over it, and set it to marinate for an hour or so. Now, I think that pitted Moroccan olives, those little, almost dried black olives, would have been a perfect addition. Next time.
I made a vinaigrette with chopped garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and a bit of maple syrup, whirring it with the hand blender until it was creamy, and set that aside, too.
Half an hour before we were ready to eat, I heated water to boil the potatoes for Leo's desired mashed potatoes, then moved the top rack in the oven up a notch or two and began preheating it, with the black cast-iron pan in it.
The water boiled, the potatoes went into it, and a few minutes later I plopped the rack of lamb on the hot pan, set the oven to broil, and broiled that baby for about 4 minutes to a side.
A little pile of mesclun went on the plates, the grapefruit and avocado on the mesclun, a sprinkle of farro on that, then a nice drizzle of vinaigrette. A pile of potatoes, with a little lamb jus (and extra butter) and then two perfectly pink segments (2 ribs each)of lamb rack.
Everything was perfect!
Except that I had forgotten dessert. Leo wanted ice cream, went to the store and came back with this: