It was a beautiful Easter Sunday in Central Park. The city was filled with tourists, the boat pound was alive with many boats a floating.The school children were walking in their rabbit ears. The trees were in bloom and the runners were enjoying the mild weather.
The sky could not have been bluer.
I was browsing thru the April issue of Bon Appetit looking for some interesting brunch menus. The cover photo was of one of the menus in this issue which was titled Spicy Lamb Meatballs, it sounded perfect for an Easter Sunday brunch, so I gave it a shot. The section of the magazine was titled ” The Way We Eat Now” which was filled with reimagined lighter versions of traditional recipes.
Spicy Lamb Meatballs
1 large egg
1/2 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground Turmeric
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley plus 1 cup parsley leaves with tender stems
2 Tbsp. plus 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
2 cloves of garlic, divided
1 lb. ground lamb 2 cups mint leaves
3 Tablespoons golden raisin plain whole Greek yogurt for serving
Place rack on the upper 1/3 of the preheated the oven to 425 degrees
Gently roll lamb into 1 1/2 diameter balls ( about the size of a golf ball; you should about 20.)
Meanwhile, puree mint, raisins, parsley leaves with stems, remaining garlic clove, remaining 1/2 cup oil, and a big pinch of salt in a blender until smooth. Taste pesto; season with more salt if needed.
Spread yogurt over plates and divide pesto and meatballs on top
Do Ahead: Pesto can be made 2 days ahead and covered and hilled. Meatballs can be formed 2 months ahead; freeze on baking sheet until firm, about 2 hours, then transfer to a freezer bag and keep frozen.
Shaved Fennel Salad
2 cups coarsely torn sourdough bread
1/2 cup walnuts
6 tablespoons, extra virgin olive oil, divided plus more for drizzling
6 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 fennel bulbs with fronds
3/4 cup torn mint leaves
2oz Parmesan Cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, Place bread on one side of a rimmed baking sheet and walnuts on the other side (they cook at different rates}. Drizzle bread with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt. Toss, squeezing bread with your hands to help absorb as much oil as possible, until evenly coated. Bake until walnuts are golden brown and croutons are deeply browned and very crisp 8-10 minutes for walnuts and 12-15 minutes for croutons. Let cool, then coarsely chop walnuts.
Meanwhile, combine garlic and red pepper in a medium owl. Let sit 10 minutes to let the garlic mellow and flavor the vinegar.
Whisk 3 tablespoons oil into vinegar mixture, then add croutons and toss to coat and let croutons soften slightly, set aside.
Remove stalks and fronds from fennel bulb. Remove fronds from stalks and coarsely chop thinly sliced stalks. Place in a large bowl. Cut fennel bulb in half and thinly slice on a mandolin. If you have one or slice very thinly. Add to same bowl along with the mint. Zest lemon half over salad, then squeeze in juice. Salt with salt and toss to combine.
Divide reserved crouton mixture among plates and top with half of the Parmesan. Arrange fennel salad over; top with remaining Parmesan and drizzle with oil.