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Celebrate Easter and impress your guests with this Mediterranean rack of lamb and mint gremolata. Serve it over creamy polenta and roasted asparagus for a delicious meal. It’s simple, sophisticated, and full of fresh spring flavors!
Easter is right around the corner, which means SPRING! I’m extra anxious for spring to arrive this year. Easter and spring go hand in hand, making it the perfect time to celebrate with lots of fresh flavors.
When it comes to holiday celebrations, I always turn to The Fresh Market for all of my needs. From seasonally fresh produce to exceptional meat and seafood, signature baked goods and carefully curated organics, The Fresh Market has all the foods I love.
Whether you’re serving ham, leg of lamb, or rack of lamb, The Fresh Market has everything you need!
Mediterranean Rack of Lamb with Mint Gremolata
Nothing screams Easter more than lamb and fresh mint. I consider lamb to be the ultimate special occasion meal. It’s sophisticated, surprisingly simple to prepare, and will impress your guests.
I chose to feature the French cut rack of lamb because its quick cooking and perfect for feeding a smaller crowd. At The Fresh Market, you can choose between a seasoned or unseasoned French rack of lamb. (All the lamb available is free-range, no antibiotics/hormones, and have been fed a 100% vegetarian diet.)
I picked up the unseasoned rack of lamb so that I could put my own twist on it. If you’ve never cooked lamb before, you’re going to be so surprised at how simple it is! First, we rub the rack of lamb with a mix of brown sugar, cardamom, pepper, salt, cinnamon, and cumin. Let it rest for about a half hour at room temperature while you preheat the oven and make the gremolata.
The mint gremolata is SO easy and pairs perfectly with the lamb. All you have to do is finely chop fresh mint, parsley, a bit of garlic, lemon zest, and orange zest.
You’ll roast the lamb in a hot oven until a thermometer reads 120-125º for medium-rare. I recommend using a probe thermometer so that you don’t have to keep opening the oven and poking the meat to check for doneness. It makes roasting meat so much easier and stress-free! Make sure to allow the meat to rest for about 10-15 minutes before cutting.
Creamy Polenta and Roasted Asparagus
When it comes to holiday entertaining, I like to keep my side dishes simple, but still want to impress my guests. Polenta is the perfect dish for ease and wow factor. For some reason polenta has the reputation of being labor intensive and difficult, but it’s not at all! Just look for packages labeled “polenta” vs. plain cornmeal. The packages of polenta have a fine ground cornmeal to make for quick-cooking polenta without being “instant”. It only takes about a minute after your water is boiling!
To give the polenta creaminess and flavor, I stir in mascarpone cheese right before serving. It adds just enough tanginess and gives the polenta an unbelievably creamy texture! Season well with salt and pepper and it is good to go! If the texture is too thick, simply stir in additional water to get it to the right consistency.
For a quick veggie side, I always turn to asparagus. You just can’t go wrong with fresh asparagus. And to keep things really simple, I toss it on the same baking sheet that I cooked the lamb. Because asparagus roasts really fast in the oven, you can throw it in while your lamb is resting.
Flowers and Chocolate
You can’t have an Easter table without pretty flowers and some chocolate bunnies! Luckily, The Fresh Market has it all.
Choose from an assortment of spring flowers like tulips and hybrid lilies. These were so popular that my store was all out, so I grabbed a bouquet of classic lilies to decorate my table. I’m certainly not complaining because lilies are my favorite!
I couldn’t resist grabbing a dark chocolate Lindt Easter Bunny, plus a few milk chocolate minis. Who doesn’t love a chocolate bunny on Easter?!
You’ll also want a little something for your guests to snack on, so grab a few specialty cheeses and crackers. It’s an easy way to have an appetizer and cheese and crackers are always a crowd pleaser! I chose parmesan and feta as those are our favorites.
This Easter, fill your basket with fresh produce, premium meat and seafood, specialty candy and bountiful blooms from The Fresh Market. They’ve curated an outstanding selection of delightful treats for your family, making it easy to celebrate the season.
If you’re entertaining a larger crowd or don’t want to do a lot of cooking, you can order the Easter Meal Kit. The kit retails for $59.99 and will serve 8 to 10 people. Orders can be placed from now until 2 PM on March 27th for pickup March 29th – April 1st before 1 PM. For more info on the meal kit and to place your order, go here.
- 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Cardamom
- 1 ½ Teaspoons Black Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon
- ¼ Teaspoon Cumin
- 1 (1 ½ - 2 lb.) French Cut Rack of Lamb
- 1 Bunch Fresh Parsley
- 1 Package Fresh Mint, about ½ Cup
- 1 Small Clove Garlic, very finely minced
- 1 Lemon, zested
- 1 Orange, zested
- 2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
- 2 Teaspoons Orange Juice
- Salt & Pepper
- 2 Bunches Fresh Asparagus
- Salt & Pepper
- 3 ½ Cups Water
- 1 Cup Polenta (fine cornmeal)
- ½ Cup Mascarpone Cheese
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Mix together the brown sugar, cardamom, pepper, salt, cinnamon and cumin. Cover the lamb evenly in the spice mixture and allow it to sit at room temperature for about a half hour while you preheat the oven and make the gremolata.
- Preheat the oven to 450º.
- Make the gremolata by finely chopping the parsley and mint. Add the herbs to a bowl and stir in the garlic, citrus zest, and juices. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Place the lamb on a baking sheet and insert a probe thermometer into the rack of lamb, being sure to not place it too close to a bone. Roast the lamb for 15 minutes on one side and then flip it and cook until the internal temperature reads 125º for medium-rare, about 15 minutes longer. (If the lamb seems to be browning too quickly, reduce the heat to 400º)
- Once the lamb is done, transfer it to a cutting board and tent it with aluminum foil to rest for 15 minutes.
- Toss the asparagus on the baking sheet that you cooked the lamb and season it lightly with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus at 450º for 8-10 minutes, or until crisp tender.
- Make the polenta by bringing the water to a boil in a medium pot. Slowly stir in the polenta and cook until it’s thickened, about 1 minute. If it’s too thick, thin it out with additional water. Stir in the mascarpone and let it melt, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cut the lamb and serve it over the polenta and asparagus and top with the gremolata.