Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Brunch at Casa Candelaria - Leg of Lamb!

Happy Easter and Passover everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend - we sure did!

I don't know about you, but each year I debate - go out for Easter brunch or make Easter brunch? Going out is pretty easy, make a reservation, get dressed and ready, gather the troops and head to some swank resort hotel for brunch. Of course there is no prep time and no dishes. Unfortunately, we have had some real misses at brunch and then you get the tab and think geez we should have just cooked. Of course making brunch involves shopping, prepping, setting the table, cooking and of course cleaning!

Last year I took the girls to New York City for Easter so this year it only felt right to cook at home!



Cooking at home was definitely the right choice! My oldest daughter, Tiffany, was in town, and my daughter Bella was with us and we were joined by my Mom and Dad and Isabel's Mom. So a party of 6 - no sweat for me having cooked for as many as 80 in one setting!


Giada De LaurentiisOf course I am a Food Network junkie as I always have it on on Saturday's while I draw in the morning and I draw and enjoy the creations of Ina Garten, Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay, Trisha Yearwood, and the rest....Well last Saturday while watching, a recipe by Giada caught my eye - an Italian Springtime Lamb! So this recipe is totally Giada's with my little twist on it!!! Add Bobby Flay's roasted brussel sprouts with another Candelaria Twist and we were set!


Meanwhile, Isabel joined in with her amazing Challah Bread French toast and jasmine rice, her Mom would bring a salad, and my Mom would make a gluten free cherry cheesecake! Our brunch was in gear! We all pitched in and enjoyed a lovely afternoon enjoying a fabulous dinner and then watching a slide show from out NYC Easter trip!
 So here is the Italian Springtime Lamb recipe:

I bought my lamb at AJ's where they deboned it and butterflied it so I could stuff it and roll it up. You start with warming two tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. You add the garlic, rosemary fresh from my garden, crushed red pepper flakes and I like to use piñon nuts instead of the walnuts in Giada's recipe. Toast this in the pan until fragrant and starting to brown. Stir in the raisins and then add the chopped spinach and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook until wilted.





Preheat the oven to 350º. Spread the lamb out flat, fat side down in a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread evenly with the mustard, distribute the spinach mixture over the mustard. Starting from one side, roll up the lamb with the filling inside. Tie with the butcher's twine at 2-inch intervals. Season the outside with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.












Wipe out the sauce pan and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place the pan over high heat and allow it to get hot. Place the lamb in the pan and sear it on all sides. Here is where I like to pour in some red wine to give the lamb crust a little flavor and aroma. Sear it on all sides until golden brown and toss the pan in the oven and roast for an hour and fifteen minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 135º. When done, place on a cutting board and let it rest for at least fifteen minutes before slicing.

While the lamb is roasting, prepare the gremolata. In a small saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the gluten free bread crumbs, stirring regularly, until golden brown. Add the parsley, lemon zest, pepper flakes and salt. Toss and set aside to the let the flavors mingle.







Giada's recipe is on the Food Network website Gilda's Italian Springtime Lamb  along with a video. It is really easy and very tasty. Don't be intimidated - go for it. You will like my twists on the recipe! Add some Bloody Mary's with bacon and shrimp my Mom's cherry cheesecake, Alette's salad and that delish french toast with homemade lemon curd from our lemon trees and - yes we had another Casa Candelaria feast! I'm glad we stayed home!




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