Spring is just around the corner. We’re looking forward to spending Easter this year in Italy! We can’t wait for asparagus to be in it’s full glory here in San Francisco and we’ve been looking for it in the markets lately! It’s become a favorite vegetable for us in the spring, along with English peas and morels. We can’t wait to make this morel and pea rigatoni again.
This slow-cooked lamb shoulder with asparagus and samphire (also known as sea beans) from José Pizarro’s Catalonia cookbook is a spring delight. If you can’ t find samphire, we would just leave them out. Don’t let that hold you back from making this delicious spring lamb dish!
Chef Pizarro says that it’s a, “really good value if you buy something like a whole shoulder, during the season. You can grill the shoulder on an open fire; the smoky flavour is a perfect match for the asparagus and the samphire.”
- 3 sprigs of marjoram, leaves stripped and finely chopped
- small bunch of finely chopped parsley
- 3 anchovies, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
- splash of sherry vinegar
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 1 large lamb shoulder (about 2 kg / 4 lb 7 oz), boned
- 200 ml (7 fl oz) fino sherry
- 2 bunches of asparagus
- 200 g (7 oz) trimmed and washed samphire
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF/Gas 6).
- Mix together the herbs and anchovies with the garlic, lemon zest, capers and vinegar. Season well and add the olive oil to make a paste. Unroll the lamb and spread the mixture all over the inside. Loosely roll it up and tie with cook’s string. Put the lamb in a roasting tin, drizzle with oil and season all over.
- Roast for 20 minutes then lower the oven to 150ºC (300ºF / Gas 2). Pour in the sherry and add a splash of water, then cover with foil and cook for 2½–3 hours until really tender.
- Cook the asparagus in boiling water for 1 minute. Add the samphire and cook for 30 seconds. Drain and refresh in cold water.
- When the lamb is cooked, set the meat aside to rest. Skim the fat from the cooking juices and toss the asparagus and samphire through the juices. Shred the lamb and serve with the vegetables.
Excerpt and photo printed with permission from Catalonia: Recipes from Barcelona and Beyond by José Pizarro, photo by Laura Edwards, published by Hardie Grant Books October 2017.