Traditionally eaten at Easter, lamb is notoriously long to cook. It can also be paired with as many ingredients as desired and can be prepared between one and 24 hours ahead using both basic and state-of-the-art equipment.
Here we feature three chef-created recipes for all kinds of home cooks.
For those in a hurry: lamb stew with tagliolini
Davide Galbiati, co-founder and executive chef of La Fabbrica Italiana, says: “This dish reminds me of the Easters I spent with my family. My grandparents got up very early to start cooking the feast, which was served as a banquet at noon. I still remember all the different smells we used to smell when entering our building.
“Every year, my cousin and I used to play a game where we guessed which dish was prepared in each house. Of course, our Nonna’s door was always the one that smelled the best. I’m sure I could have gone blindfolded.”
Ingredients for tagliolini and stew
240g of fresh tagliolin
100g of butter
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
300g minced lamb
1½ glass of chicken broth
Ingredients for the parmesan cream
200 g grated parmesan
Method for tagliolini and stew
Cook the tagliolini in salted water according to your taste.
In a separate pan, roast the vegetables with butter over low heat until golden brown.
Add the minced lamb to the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 35 minutes.
Add the chicken broth and cook until it reaches a creamy consistency.
Adjust with salt and pepper to taste.
Method for the parmesan cream
Bring the cream to a boil, then turn off the heat.
Slowly stir in the Parmesan until you get a thick creamy consistency.
Mix the lamb stew with the cooked tagliolini. Add dabs of parmesan cream on top, then garnish with fresh parsley.
For connoisseurs: shoulder of lamb “Italian style”
Roberto Torre, Executive Chef of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, says: “Some of my earliest memories of cooking come from my grandmother and my mother, in particular the cooked ‘Italian-style’ shoulder of lamb for Easter.
“Right here, I offer you a revisited version of an iconic dish. Something more sophisticated, thanks to slow cooking, but which retains the specific taste of my childhood and my identity, and which is an ode to my penchant for cooking without artifice.”
For 2-3 people
1.2 kg lamb shoulder
Malabar salt and black pepper, to taste
100ml olive oil
8g of garlic
60 g shallots (about 2 pieces)
10g of thyme
150ml chicken stock
120 g small tricolor peppers
140g cherry tomatoes
Season the lamb shoulder with salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, shallots, thyme and rosemary. Put the seasoned lamb in a vacuum bag and add the chicken broth. Close the bag and place it in a steam oven at 90°C for 12 hours.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1.5 cm cubes. Cut the baby peppers and cherry tomatoes in half. Julienne the shallots.
In a non-stick pan, add the garlic and shallots with the extra virgin olive oil. Add the potatoes and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes.
In another non-stick pan, cook the mini peppers with olive oil for 20-25 minutes. Add the cooked potato mixture to the second pan. Then add the cherry tomatoes and thyme, mix gently to coat all the ingredients, salt, pepper and set aside.
Once the shoulder of lamb is cooked, let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature but still in the vacuum bag. After 30 minutes, take it out of the bag, place it on a plate and gently remove the bones, trying to keep the shape.
Collect the cooking juice from the bag, filter it, then reduce the juice over low heat in a saucepan until you obtain a syrupy liquid. To obtain it, you can add a water-cornflour mixture to the juice, but be careful not to reduce too much because it could become too salty.
Add olive oil to a large hot nonstick skillet. Place the shoulder of lamb and cook for about 10 minutes on each side to obtain a crispy skin.
Add the potatoes, small peppers and cherry tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve hot with the cooking juices in a sauceboat.
For the professional: lamb chops with aubergines and anchovies
Mauro di Leo, Head Chef at Matagi, Raffles The Palm, says: “This dish is a twist on our Easter traditions in Italy. Growing up, we shared lamb with our family and friends, and gathered around the table to eat together. They are some of my favorite memories. But then I spent a lot of time working with Japanese cuisine, and I was seduced by their respect for ingredients and their precise methods. With this dish, I wanted to enhance one of my favorite flavors with some of the techniques I learned during my time there, and blend my childhood memories with everything I learned during my adventure.
800ml rice vinegar
1L aka miso
1L shiro miso
2 kg brown sugar
2 lamb chops
500g sour cream
2 kg of Sicilian datterino tomatoes
2 bunches of fresh mint
200g white sugar
2L of water
2L apple cider vinegar
Black and pink pepper
2 star anise
2 kg Tropea onion
2 Agria potatoes
500g goat cheese
200g Nocellara olives
6 Cantabrian anchovy fillets
Salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil, to taste
First prepare the den miso by mixing rice vinegar with aka miso, shiro miso and brown sugar, and cook for 20 minutes.
French the rack of lamb, removing the fat. Marinate with the cooled miso den and the zest of an orange. Vacuum pack the lamb and marinate overnight.
Dry the sour cream by placing it in a kitchen towel for at least five hours in the refrigerator.
Cut a small slit in the top of each tomato, then blanch them in boiling water for one minute. Peel and place the skins on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook them at 90°C for three to four hours, turning the skins every hour. (A convection setting will dry the skins faster, but check throughout the cooking process to avoid burning.) Once the skins have cooled, grind them in a grinder to form a fine powder.
Mark the eggplants with the skin, then leave them on an open fire (robata) for 30 minutes or until they are tender. Cut the aubergines in half, empty the insides into a bowl and season with salt, black pepper, lemon juice, chopped mint and olive oil.
Prepare the pickling liquid by mixing the white sugar, water, apple cider vinegar, black pepper, pink pepper and star anise. Bring to a boil.
Clean and peel the onions, and cut them into small wedges. Pour the hot marinade liquid over the top and let cool.
Wash and peel the potatoes, and cut into two 5cm x 5cm sheets with a vegetable cutter. Roll the leaves and shape a cannelloni 1 cm in diameter, season with salt. Steam at 100°C for 10 minutes, then dry and fry the leaves at 185°C until golden.
Wipe off the goat cheese and add the diced Nocellara olives, the salt, the zest of one lemon and one orange. Put in a piping bag and set aside.
Heat olive oil to 86°C, then add a bunch of chopped mint. Remove from the heat and mix with the Thermomix, making sure to be as quick as possible to keep the green color.
Cook the marinated lamb sous vide at 55°C for two hours. Once ready, open the bag and grill the lamb in the robata for a few minutes to give it a nice crust and a smoky taste.
Make an oval quenelle ball with the aubergine mixture, then garnish with a mint leaf and pickled onions.
Pour the dried sour cream and fill the middle with spearmint oil.
Arrange the lamb chops, season with salt and lemon zest.
Sprinkle the potato cannelloni with the dried tomato and stuff the inside with the goat cheese mixture. Garnish with three anchovies each, plus (optional) kiku flower and toasted Sicilian almonds.
Updated: April 09, 2022, 05:12