Easter dinner: Spring lamb

March 20, 2008 5:12:41 PM PDT
An easy mouth-watering Easter dinner! Chef Bruce Aidells shares his recipe for spring lamb.

Want an easy dish to cook for Easter dinner with amazing results? Try this spring lamb recipe!

Spring lamb with oven roasted artichokes and green garlic aioli
Serves 6

In the start of February and March, as you drive around Sonoma and Mendocino counties, you can feel spring's eminent presence brewing. Tulips and cherry blossoms have already popped and baby lamb are bounding about the roadside fields. The wineries and the farmers are racing to whip their vineyards, fields, and orchards into shape. Everyone's focus is geared on the start of the agricultural year, pruning and planning. It is truly special to witness the anticipation of the bounty and harvest to come. Spring lamb symbolizes all this for us. We have a favorite local rancher, Bruce Campbell of CK Lamb (707.431.8161), who raises his lamb to anywhere from a few weeks to a few months per the chef's request, versus at least six months for most commercially raised lamb. We tell folks if you think you don't like lamb, you haven't really had it before, because this experience is so different.


  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • a pinch of chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 x 5 ounce portions lamb sirloin (also known as chump)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • oven roasted artichokes and green garlic aioli (recipes below)
  • quality extra virgin olive oil for garnish

Fire up the grill and the oven to 400. In a food processor, pulse the zest and lemon juice, with the herbs, garlic, anchovy, chili flakes, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Rub the mixture over lamb. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the lamb until desired temperature. (you can cook it entirely on the grill if you can move it to an area of indirect heat or move from the grill to an oven for a few minutes). We like to serve ours around medium rare, so we pull ours around 120 and let it rest for a few minutes. To plate smear the aioli along one edge of the plate. Create a mound with the artichokes. Slice each piece of lamb once across the grain. And lean against artichokes. Sprinkle meat with salt and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Oven roasted artichokes
Serves 4 - 6


  • 20 baby artichokes
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 1/2 cups white wine
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn

Preheat the oven to 400. trim the artichokes. Using a serrated knife cut off the top 1/2 inch of each artichoke. Place in an ovenproof baking dish. Cut 2 of the lemons in half and squeeze the juice over the artichokes and place the spent lemons in the baking dish. Add the white wine, water, garlic cloves, bay, coriander, and peppercorns. On a burner on high heat, bring the liquid to a boil. Cover with foil and cook in the oven until tender (leaves are removed easily), about 45 minutes. Remove the dark outer leaves and cut artichokes in half.

Green garlic aioli


  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 stalk green garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

In a food processor, combine the eggs, lemon juice, and garlic. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Zazu Restaurant & Farm
3535 Guerneville Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95401

106 Matheson Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448

Learn more about Duskie Estes, John Stewart and the Zazu Kitchen:

Learn more about Ziggy "The Wine Gal" Eschliman:

Sparkling Wine
Iron Horse JOY! Sonoma County-Green Valley

Rose Wine
2007 Arrowood La Rose
Sonoma Valley
Lasseter Vineyards

Red Wine
2006 Holdredge Syrah
Russian River Valley
Lovers Lane Vineyard

Learn more about California wines at: www.landofwineandfood.com