Hearty, casual and abundant Sunday meals with friends are always a pleasure. We save complicated, multi-course meals for the holidays and very special occasions during the year, but have tended towards more family style meals at other times. This is a typical example of a relatively last minute, sort of impromptu meal that takes good ingredients and just lets them come together. The anchor protein for the meal was a leg of lamb, a present from Australian cousins who were here a few weeks ago. The lamb was in the deep freeze waiting for the right moment… The rest of the meal was made up of farm fresh veggies and greens from several sources.
The spread for 7-8 people. Looks abundant, right? I thought so. Nearly every morsel wiped out. :)
A mixed green salad of lettuces, tiny mexican cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes and a vinaigrette dressing.
A simple but delicious gratin of zucchini, onions and tomatoes…
…to make: just slice yellow and green zucchini and some small white onions into rounds and lay them alternately in an olive oiled baking dish. Add some cherry (in this case, three types) tomatoes in the nooks and crannies and drizzle with more olive oil, lots of fresh thyme leaves and salt and pepper. Stick into a hot oven for say 15 minutes. Meanwhile, tear up some day old bread (no crusts) and place them in a food processor. Add some grated parmesan cheese, more thyme and other herbs such as basil, and drizzle with some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and blitz until you have coarse crumbs. Take the veggies out of the oven, sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes until lightly golden brown. So easy and yet so good… soft veggies topped with a crunchy tasty breadcrumb mixture!
Next a platter of roasted rootcrops and veggies.
To make: just add some small or new potatoes to a baking dish, add some peeled carrots, shallots, peeled and cut up butternut squash and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and add some finely chopped rosemary and mix before placing in a hot oven for say 35-45 minutes or until all the veggies are cooked.
A leg of lamb cooked with rosemary and anchovies and served with a sauce that includes some raspberry jam. To make, fully defrost your leg of lamb. Stab the leg with a small sharp knife and insert whole peeled cloves of garlic and sprigs of rosemary. Also add about 6 whole filets of canned or bottled anchovies. I know that sounds strange, but bear with me for a while. Season generously with salt and pepper and douse with say a cup of white wine and roast for roughly 30 minutes at 450F. Lower temperature to 325F, add some water to the pan and roast another hour or more depending on size of the leg of lamb to achieve desired level of doneness… we like it medium rare to rare. Once the lamb is cooked remove from the oven, and cover the leg to let it “rest” while you make the sauce. Take the pan juices and create a simple gravy with the addition of some butter and flour and a few tablespoons of raspberry jam. Pass this through a sieve to remove solids and seeds. Serve with sauce/gravy on the side. We also served some mint jelly and mint sauce as well for those who MUST have mint jelly with their lamb. None of the guests would have guessed the inclusion of anchovies unless I told them they were there. :)
The flowers for the table centerpiece were recycled in the waning days of these arrangements, so we got two uses from the flowers, and they lasted 5 days in total. :)