It’s Thanksgiving in America on Thursday. A time when people criss-cross the country, catching trains and planes to be with their family in order to sit down for a meal and simply give thanks. There’s no special candy, outlandish decorations or presents to buy, there’s just good food and loved ones. I appreciate the simplicity of it, and even though it’s not a holiday in Australia, I like to get in the spirit and use this time of year to reflect, be grateful and celebrate the produce of the season.
Traditional Thanksgiving ingredients like sweet potatoes, cranberries and apples are long gone from my local farmers market. Instead I have an array of bright green vegetables, crispy radish, spring lamb and fresh herbs to work with. It’s a fresh palate of colour and flavour that is a welcome relief from the winter produce, and therefor more than worthy of giving thanks for.
When produce is fresh and seasonal, you don’t need to do much to it to make it shine. Asparagus, peas and radish just need a bit of heat, some butter, lemon and herbs to turn them into a simple, tasty, warm salad. Some grilled spring lamb on the BBQ goes perfectly with it. To fancy the lamb up a bit, I used Karen Martini’s recipe for a warm feta vinaigrette. It’s a bright, creamy dressing that compliments the lamb as well as the vegetables. This is an excellent dressing to have on standby throughout Summer, ready to turn any grilled lamb into something quite special.
With a spring meal covered, all that’s left is to give thanks.
It’s a year since we moved to Kyneton (an hour and a bit out of Melbourne) to start our experiment in slower living. We landed here from New York and were unsure about a lot of things. Would we find jobs that allowed us to commute less? Would we miss the city too much? Would we be bored in the country? One year on, we’re planting veggies in our backyard for another season, making new friends and expecting our first baby. Our roots are spreading in this little town, and I’m very grateful that the early results of this experiment are positive.
Lamb with Warm Feta Vinaigrette and Spring Vegetables
- 2 springs fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 50ml olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 12 lamb cutlets
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 bunches asparagus
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Salt and pepper
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves picked and sliced
- 60ml olive oil
- 1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- 100g greek fetta
Combine the marinade ingredients and rub the mixture into the lamb. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables.
Snap asparagus at the natural breaking point to get rid of the woody part of the stem. Slice remaining stem into three using a diagonal cut. Heat butter in a pan and add asparagus. Cook for 5 minutes until asparagus is bright green and almost cooked. Add frozen peas and warm through for a few minutes. Season and squeeze half a lemon over the vegetables.Transfer to a serving bowl and scatter radishes and mint over the top.
To make the vinaigrette, whisk the vinegar, olive oil, garlic and mustard in a small saucepan. Season. Warm gently over medium-low heat. When ready to serve, stir through the crumbled feta and serve in a small jug.
Cook the lamb cutlets on a hot barbecue or grill pan for a few minutes each side, then transfer to a serving plate.
Serve vegetables, meat and vinaigrette on the table so guests can serve themselves and drizzle the vinaigrette over the top of the vegetables and lamb.
Lamb and vinaigrette recipe from Karen Martini