Entertaining

Spring Fling

Recipes for a lovely spring-themed dinner party
At our spring-themed party, slow-cooked lamb is the star.
Slow-cooked lamb and more spring recipes

It's spring and already the days are longer and brighter, the vegetables sweeter and greener. Time, in other words, for gorgeous, unfussy dinner parties with our friends.

The kind of dinners where we lose track of time and open more bottles of wine than we intended.

Special thanks to Susan MacTavish Best for opening up her home to Tasting Table.

With visions of that perfect spring get-together, we came up with this mellow menu:

Slow-cooked lamb shoulder with pounded herbs and green garlic

Baby artichokes with toasted hazelnuts and green olives

Crispy potatoes with saffron aioli

Gem lettuce with crème fraîche, breakfast radishes and toasted breadcrumbs

Almond cake with macerated strawberries and cardamom cream

The centerpiece is a big, beautiful hunk of lamb. But instead of searing the meat and making a hot mess on the stovetop, we slide it into a pool of white wine, chicken stock and aromatics and let it relax in a low, slow oven.

The lamb gets tender and infused all the way through with flavor. It doesn't need much to shine, just a spoonful of fresh herbs, pounded into a thick, bright green sauce that glistens with olive oil.

On the side: some baby artichokes snug under a blanket of green olives and hazelnuts; fingerling potatoes, halved and crisped in a pan, with bright saffron aioli; and a salad made with the sweetest, most tender gem lettuce leaves.

For dessert, we suggest the O.G. of almond cakes, a riff on an old Chez Panisse recipe. Bake it the day before if you like, then add some dollops of cream seasoned with cardamom and some fresh strawberries macerated in a bit of sugar.

And after dessert, who knows? It's spring! Anything is possible. 

  • To celebrate the brighter days and greener vegetables of spring, we threw a gorgeous, unfussy dinner party. At the center: slow-cooked lamb shoulder. All around: friends.

  • Wine glasses sparkiing in the sunlight; anchovies give the gem lettuce salad serious heft and flavor.

  • A bowl of softly whipped cream seasoned with cardamom is the perfect addition to almond cake and macerated strawberries.

  • Before we sit down, a glass of wine.

  • Writing the menu out just makes things feel a bit more more celebratory.

  • This beautiful almond cake is a riff on an old Chez Panisse recipe.

  • Everything looks more beautiful when it's in the beautiful, eclectic home of entertaining guru MacTavish Best.

  • A perfect plate from our spring party.

  • Crisp fingerling potatoes with a splash of color and flavor: saffron aioli.

  • Baby artichokes under a blanket of toasted hazelnuts.

  • A bar table is just the thing after a long meal.

  • The star of our spring menu: a slow-cooked lamb shoulder, braised in white wine and chicken stock, served with a pounded herb sauce.

  • We experimented with different pairings, and found a full-bodied, lightly oaked Chardonnay worked best.

  • Warning: The crispy fingerling potatoes will be extremely popular.

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