Avocado and Fava Beans Two Ways with Crispy Garlic Toasts
Slow-Cooked Shoulder of Mint/Cumin-Marinated Lamb with Caramelized Garlic, Carrots and Celery Root , Potatoes and Red Onions
Cucumber and Green Onion Salad with Ginger, Double Lemon and Fresh Herbs
Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake with Vanilla Crème Fraiche and Fresh Berries
About the Class
No one (especially me) seems to tire of Ottoleghi. So we’ll have more of him at class on Wednesday, May 8. This menu's slow-cooked lamb shoulder is the best I’ve ever tasted. Marinated (preferably overnight) in an olive oil paste highlighting cumin and fresh mint, the finished dish is falling-apart-succulent. Ottolenghi adds celery root, carrots and halved heads of garlic (and I’ve included potatoes and onions as well) to the pan alongside the lamb. Basted every hour or so during the 5-6 hour braise, the veggies are richly flavored, lusciously caramelized, There is virtually no work involved here, but you do need to be around for the basting. Dinner at the end of a weekend afternoon spent at home gardening, reading or just puttering is an ideal scenario.
This lamb-cum-root-vegetables provides a robustly satisfying one-dish meal. However, I include Ottolenghi’s cucumber and green onion salad alongside. With abundant lemon and fresh herbs, it offers just the right amount of lightening and brightening.
For more lightening and brightening and because it is too good not to include, we’ll make a green first course as well, a made-in-heaven avocado and fava bean concoction. Some of the favas are pureed with the avocado. Enough lemon juice is added to prevent the mixture from turning brown/allowing it to be prepared a couple days ahead if desired. At serving time, the puree becomes the base for a fava and fresh herb saute. An ideal starter but also perfect with cocktails or as part of a mezze platter. Replace the favas with edamame for an equally delicious--though somewhat heavier dish. As I can't keep myself from lily-gilding, I pass very thin, crispy garlic toasts made with my favorite no-yeast-so-beyond-simple-to-make multigrain bread. Virtually everyone loves this recipe. The bread is a snap to make and also perfect for sandwiches, smoked salmon, breakfast toast with butter and honey, or with a cheese plate. Many other uses as well. The best and the easiest!!!
A light but supremely satisfying lemon-poppy seed cake concludes the feast. Its texture is akin to pound cake--but the crumb is finer and more delicate, predominantly because cream replaces the more traditional butter. A nice twist. Abundant lemon zest perfumes each slice, and the lemony glaze, bolstered by confectioners' sugar, does not seep into the cake, thereby avoiding syrupy sogginess. If I'm not careful, I eat this addictive cake--tiny slice by tiny slice--until, all of a sudden there is nothing left. Though I serve it here with vanilla-enhanced creme fraiche and berries, the unassuming loaf stands brilliantly on its own any time of day or night.