Put together a truly seasonal Easter feast with these recipes, tips and ideas from Farmdrop Recipe Developer, Alice King.
Go all out. Roast lamb, root veg gratin and buttery samphire. Photography: Natalé Towell
Easter is for feasting with friends and family, for long drawn out lunches and gorging on delicious things. Dishes that can be prepared in advance or cuts of meat that can be left to slowly roast in the oven make life a bit easier, leaving you more time to enjoy yourself. This is a great time to celebrate the early spring produce that’s cropping up, like Jersey Royal potatoes and foraged fare such as samphire and wild garlic.
The main event
For many, lamb is the meat of choice for Easter and I think a leg of lamb is the perfect cut to feed a crowd of people.
You might be surprised to learn that most of the UK’s spring lamb is flown in from New Zealand. At this time of year, truly local, grass-fed lambs are technically called ‘hoggets’, born last spring and reared outdoors all year for deliciously tender meat.
I like to cook it long and slow, at 160ºC for 2.5 to 3 hours, until the meat is meltingly tender and falling off the bone. It can be flavoured in various ways; simply with the juice of a lemon, salt and pepper, or studded with anchovies and garlic for an umami boost.
For a lamb alternative, try this Roast Kid Goat Shoulder with wild garlic sauce.
Middle Eastern spices would also work well. Our new range of Rooted Spices has some gorgeous blends; za’atar and their own house blend go really well with roasted meats. If you wanted to try an alternative to lamb, free-range, pasture-fed kid goat is a great option too. It has a wonderful flavour and is beautifully tender.
Try blitzing up wild garlic into a sauce to serve alongside your roast: the seasonal answer to traditional mint sauce. It’s also the season for plenty of other wild-growing greens (not just wild garlic). We have Forager picking all sorts of wild edibles at the moment: try blending lemony sorrel with olive oil to drizzle over your plate.
Make your sides count
Seasonal sides that can also double as the main event for vegetarians and can be prepared in advance work well. My Jersey Royal & Wild Garlic Gratin champions the short season of nutty, delicate Jerseys. The creamy, cheesy sauce of a gratin makes it a bit more special than your usual roast veggies. Alternatively, try this indulgent rainbow chard gratin.
Jersey Royals are just coming into season: turn them into a creamy root veg gratin
We are just coming to the end of the purple sprouting broccoli season, but this recipe with anchovy butter dressing is delicious with roast lamb or a lemony roast chicken. English asparagus season is just about to begin (keep an eye out for them) so make the most of their delicate flavour by blanching and dressing them simply. A bowl of buttered spring greens or salty samphire would also go really well.
Alternatively, sweet caramelised shallots are simple to make and delicious with a roast: cut shallots in half lengthways, add a little butter and oil to a frying pan and leave them to cook cut-side down for 5 to 10 minutes, until they are soft and golden.
Make room for afters
To complete your Easter feast, a simple and seasonal pud like this Rhubarb Frangipane is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. For a more festive finish, try these Hot Cross Biscuits spiced with cinnamon and orange zest, or this twist on a classic simnel cake, made with white chocolate and pistachios.
For all your seasonal Easter ingredients from local farms direct to your door, go to farmdrop.com.