It had to be lamb. You can't not cook lamb at Easter. And,to be honest, if you're going to cook lamb, it is very hard to go wrong with Tom Kerridge's superlative lamb shoulder on boulangere potatoes. If you've never cooked that little beauty, dear Reader, then you need to give it a go. But I wanted to do something a little bit different this year, and took to t'Internet for some alternative inspiration.
I ended up, thanks to some inspiration from a dear friend, with an approximation of this recipe, courtesy of the Jamie Oliver magazine.
I started with a leg joint that my friendly local butcher boned out and butterflied for me. It is worth asking a professional to do this if you possibly can, although a husband with access to You Tube and a sharp knife will make a jolly good attempt if you're pushed. I smeared a couple of heaped teaspoons of green pesto across the meat then added roughly chopped artichoke hearts, still golden and peppery with oil, anchovy fillets, a thick coating of Parmesan breadcrumbs, a carpet of flat leaf parsley and plenty of seasoning before rolling the beast up and securing with string. There are some powerful, salty ingredients in that stuffing, such that it sounds like it might be slightly too much - but rest assured that in conjunction with the sweet, fatty lamb it works like an absolute dream.
To accompany, I wanted some side dishes that would incorporate the same sort of robust flavours as the meat but might be slightly lighter than the Sunday dinner norm. I revisited an old friend, a cannellini bean puree flavoured with lemon and roasted garlic which provided a soft, flavourful blanket on which to build the plate up with roasted new potatoes, pan roasted asparagus (still not local alas - I'm waiting for the start of the season with bated breath) and a delicious braised fennel gratin with lemon and Parmesan. Minted peas would be another excellent addition here if you felt so inclined.