Love Your Mother: Lamb, Carrots and Fava Salad - may 11, 2011

This year I made my desires for Mother's Day known well in advance: no gifts, just a day at home in the garden and a big dinner, cooked as a family.  It was delicious, and I got gifts anyway - three of Andy Goldsworthy's books, much loved by my kids after we watched his Rivers and Tides together a week or two back.

I spent the day puttering out in the yard, planting this, pulling that, occasionally enlisting the help of our kids and more occasionally having a glass of wine. Rose, of course, since the sun was shining. I collected favas, spring onions, mint, arugula and snap peas for the salad, which was the only part I had to make myself. Fresh favas are the best thing in the world, picked from the garden and eaten hours later. The flavor difference between them and the ones from the store, or even from the CSA box, is surprising. Perfect to go with some spring lamb.

These recipes are from David Tanis' A Platter of Figs, the first spring menu in the book. Its not something I would make every day, but a little fancy, with two kinds of meat (lamb wrapped in bacon) a salad, vegetable and a cake for dessert. All good springy things to enjoy with your Mom!

Roasted Lamb and Saffron Carrots:  (adapted from David Tanis' A Platter of Figs)

(serves 4-6)






for the lamb:




1 boneless shoulder roast of veal, 2 to 3 pounds



salt and pepper


3 garlic cloves, sliced

olive oil

a few rosemary sprigs

a few thyme sprigs

3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (or bacon)


1 T butter

2 spring onions, finely chopped


water or dry white wine


For the carrots:

1 lb carrots

1 T butter

2 cloves garlic

1/2 t grated lemon zest


Season the roast well with salt and pepper. Insert the garlic slices into the lose flesh on the underside of the roast. Drizzle a little olive oil over the meat. Lay the rosemary and thyme sprigs on the meat, then wrap the pancetta slices around the roast, tie it all together with kitchen string and place in a roasting pan. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or over night.

Bring the meat to room temperature and preheat the oven to 400°F. Roast the lamb for 45 minutes to an hour, until the internal temperature is 130°F. Let the meat rest on a platter, loosely covered, for at least 15 minutes before carving.

While the meat is cooking make the carrots and prepare the salad (recipe below). Peel the carrots and slice into thin coins. Sauté them in 1 T butter with a little crumbled saffron and a couple minced garlic cloves. Season well with salt and pepper and a half teaspoon of freshly grated lemon zest. Add 1/2 cup of water and simmer, covered for 5 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

Fava Bean Salad with Mountain Ham and Mint: (adapted from David Tanis' A Platter of Figs)


2-3 pounds fresh young favas (sub in peas or snap peas if you don't have enough)



1 large fennel bulb


2 spring onions, thinly slivered

 salt and pepper

fruity olive oil


1/2 bunch mint

4 slices cured ham, such as jamon, serrano or prosciutto

arugula leaves


Shuck the favas, then blanch the beans in boiling water for 10 seconds, cool them in a large bowl of ice water. Pinch the skin and pop the bean out. This is a good task to share with kids.


Trim the top, stems and core from the fennel, and when you are ready to make the salad slice it into thin shreds or use a mandolin. Put them in a bowl with the favas (and peas), onions and some salt. Drizzle generously with olive oil to coat. Coarsely chop the mint leaves and add them, and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the salad. Toss well, taste and correct if it needs more salt, oil or lemon.

 Pile the salad onto a large platter, surround with the ham or tear it into strips and scatter over the salad. Grind some pepper on top, garnish with some arugula and serve immediately.



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