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Easter dishes that are easy and elegant updates

Daniel Neman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Entertaining

Actually, if you have a little crunchy salt and pepper to sprinkle on at the end, that would be good, too. But they aren't necessary.

The other ingredient, the one you can't get at the store, is time. To get the full effect as well as the full flavor, you have to marinate the lamb in the other ingredients overnight.

It's that easy. And it's that good. Mustard and thyme are natural accompaniments to lamb, and the honey adds just the right touch of sweetness. To me, it's much better than mint.

To go with the lamb, I made potatoes, naturally. If you don't serve potatoes with grilled lamb, you're wasting good grilled lamb. For that matter, if you serve potatoes without grilled lamb, you're kind of wasting them, too.

I decided to go simple, yet fancy. Simple, in that I made mashed potatoes. Fancy, in that I wanted to make them extra-nice for Easter. So I made Garlic-Rosemary Mashed Potatoes.

It's simple math: Mashed potatoes are good. Garlic mashed potatoes are better than mashed potatoes. And Garlic-Rosemary Mashed Potatoes are better than garlic mashed potatoes — plus rosemary goes particularly well with lamb.

 

The only challenge to making Garlic-Rosemary Mashed Potatoes is transferring the flavor of the garlic and the rosemary to the mashed potatoes, and it turns out to be easily accomplished. I sautéed garlic and rosemary in the amount of butter I knew I was going to add to the potatoes. Then I added milk and simmered it a few minutes until it was redolent of rosemary and garlic.

I strained this milk mixture into the cooked potatoes, mashed it all together, and it was so comforting and delicious that I instantly felt better about the world.

I used milk. If you want to use cream, no one will stop you.

Meanwhile, I did not use milk or cream with my other dish, Asparagus Soup — not, you'll notice, Cream of Asparagus Soup. Asparagus, to me, is the ultimate springtime vegetable, and I didn't want to muddy its flavor with a dairy product, even though that would make it richer.

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