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This is the time of the year to enjoy baby milk-fed lamb or baby goat.
The season lasts maybe 6 weeks running up to Easter. The prized animals are slaughtered before they are weaned and take on a more gamey flavor.
The breast and chops that I cooked came from a baby spring lamb that weighed just 35 pounds.
The hardest part of this dish is finding baby lamb. I’m lucky to live in San Francisco, so I got mine at Golden Gate Meat Company in the Ferry Building. If you can’t get the breast use chops or even a leg of lamb. Any cut works with this recipe.
The breast riblets are crispy and fall off the bone tender. The chops have a golden brown crust and delicate flavor and can be cooked to your preferred doneness.
Keep an eye out for my Easter Recipe Roundup. You’ll see the other 3 courses I’m making for my Easter dinner and recipes for dozens of my favorites for you to make your own 4-course Easter dinner.
Buona Pasqua! Buon appetito!
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 anchovy filets
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 baby spring lamb breast or 4 double rib chops
- 4 Yukon Gold potatoes
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup wine wine
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Place the potatoes in a pot of well-salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes until just knife tender. Take the potatoes out of the water and set aside.
- When cool enough to handle peel the potatoes, cut each in half and then in quarters.
- Place the potatoes on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt and black pepper to taste. Coat the potatoes well all over.
- Put the potatoes in the oven on the upper rack. Roast until the potatoes, turning them once until they are crispy and very light brown, about 25 minutes. Remove the potatoes from oven and set aside.
- Finely chop 2 garlic cloves, the leaves of 2 rosemary branches and the anchovy. Put the mixture in a bowl. Add the vinegar and sea salt and black pepper to taste. Mix well to form a paste and set aside.
- Cut the breast into 4 similar size pieces. Thoroughly season each piece on both sides with salt and pepper. (Or substitute the lamb chops.)
- Put a cast iron pan or a skillet large enough to hold the lamb over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan.
- Smash 2 garlic cloves and 2 rosemary branches to the pan. Cook in the hot olive oil for a minute or two to infuse the oil with their flavor. Discard the garlic and rosemary.
- Put the lamb in the pan and cook to form a golden crust on both sides. Put the lamb in a baking dish.
- Add the white wine to the hot pan. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom and let the wine simmer for a minute to burn off the alcohol.
- Pour the wine into the baking dish.
- Put the baking dish on the bottom shelf of the oven and roast the lamb until it is golden brown, about 90 minutes. (If using chops roast until they reach an internal temperature of 125 degrees.)
- Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and cover the lamb on both sides with the rosemary paste. Add the potatoes to the pan.
- Return the baking dish and continue roasting until the lamb is fork tender. (If using chops until the internal temperature is 140 degrees.)
- Remove the lamb and potatoes to a serving platter. Skim off any excess fat from the pan juices and pour them over the lamb.
- Serve immediately.