Thursday, March 25, 2010

Easter Lamb, Spring Asparagus and Olive Oil

Give Your Easter Dinner a Traditional Mediterranean Flair with a
Spring Lamb Bathed in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The traditional Easter dinner in the United States typically revolves around ham while Europeans prefer to serve lamb. Not only is the lamb a symbol of innocence and has special connotation at the Easter dinner table it is the right choice for the season. Spring being a moment in which everyone celebrates the new cycle of nature lamb became the classic Easter meal to celebrate the beginning of spring and the new life. Before intensive animal farming, lambs were born in autumn and ready to market in the spring.

Wow your family by treating them to an easy-to-prepare and tasty Easter meal: lamb seasoned with garlic and Roberta’s Roasting & Grilling Salt from The Scrumptious Pantry and finished with high-quality extra virgin olive oil, like Cosimo’s Premium Blend from The Scrumptious Pantry. Make sure your lamb is a happy one, too, raised on a small pasture farm instead of a large feedlot.

The natural vegetable for your Easter meal is the first vegetable of spring: asparagus. And the only thing better than cooked asparagus is asparagus drizzled with healthy olive oil and sprinkled with just a hint of salt. Asparagus is low in calories, contains no cholesterol and is healthy as it is very low in sodium. It is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium. Try to purchase asparagus that is locally grown for best taste and freshness.

Extra virgin olive oil has been used for thousands of years in cooking and is one of the cornerstones of the healthy Mediterranean diet. It is a concentrated source of monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, while extra virgin olive oil also contains polyphenolic phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity. Extra virgin olive oil is very versatile and, with its unique flavor and aroma, has become a must-have in the American kitchen.

The Scrumptious Pantry offers two extra virgin olive oils to use in preparing your Easter feast. Its Premium Blend is elegant, sweeter at first, but quickly developing a peppery sensation that works perfectly with meats, veggies, salads and cheese. Its Extra Virgin Olive Oil is spicy, pungent oil that works perfectly to top off soups and stews, pasta dishes, risotto and veggies.

About The Scrumptious Pantry
The Scrumptious Pantry is “Real Food from Real People.” All of our food items are made in small batches that come from family farms that embrace the traditional philosophies of farming and the importance of growing crops as safely as possible through natural means. In the kitchen traditional artisan techniques are followed to create culinary treasures that do not include any additives, fillers or preservatives – only estate-grown ingredients, passion and the belief that food is nourishment for the body and soul. Each product proudly displays the farmer whose name it carries to show they stand behind what they grow and make. From our farms to your table we pledge to provide a difference you can taste. Visit to find a store near you or order online at

Easter Lamb with Spring Asparagus

Leg of Lamb
1 (5 pound) leg of lamb
3 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
3 tablespoon Cosimo’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil (from The Scrumptious Pantry)
2 tablespoon Roberta’s Roasting & Grilling Salt (from The Scrumptious Pantry)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Method (1) Preheat oven to 325°F. (2) Puncture the leg of lamb with the tip of a knife just far enough to insert slivers of garlic into the holes. (3) Gently massage 2 tablespoons of olive oil onto meat. (4) Rub salt over the leg of lamb. (5) Place the lamb, fatty side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. (6) Roast uncovered for 2 to 2 1/2 hours in the preheated oven, to an internal temperature of 155°F for medium. (7) Tent with aluminum foil and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. The lamb will continue to cook a little bit, and the juices will set up better for carving.

To carve the leg of lamb, for stability, (1) place the roast on its side on the cutting board with the shank bone facing away from you. Cut two or three lengthwise slices from the section of the meat facing you. This will allow the meat to sit flat on the cutting board. (2) Turn the roast up so that it sits on the cut area. Hold the roast steady with a long-handled meat fork inserted into the meat opposite the shank bone. Holding the knife perpendicular to the cutting board and starting by the shank bone, cut across the grain into uniform, thin slices. Cut the slices between 1/4- to 1/2-inches thick. (3) When you reach the bone, release the slices by cutting under them along the leg bone. Place slices on a warmed serving platter. (4) Drizzle the lamb with Cosimo’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Serve immediately.

1½ pounds fresh green asparagus
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon Cosimo’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil (from The Scrumptious Pantry)

Method (1) Fill a large stock pot with cold water, bring to a rolling boil and add one teaspoon of kosher salt. (2) Wash asparagus to remove any dirt and trim ends. (3) Add asparagus to boiling water and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender. (4) Drain and place on warm serving platter, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve immediately.

Serving suggestion: Serve the meal with artisan baked baguette.

Happy Eating! Mr. Foodie