Chef Lidia Bastianich is returning to the show as part of our "Talk Takeaway" series and will demonstrate how to make a fabulous Easter meal. She'll be cooking seared lamb chops with rosemary in a cherry mustard sauce as the main dish. To compliment it she'll also be making a side scaffata dish, which is composed of braised peas, favas, lettuce, and spring onions. To complete the meal, she will share a chocolate bread parfait dessert. Lidia is co-owner of five restaurants in New York - Felidia, Becco, Esca, Del Posto, and Eataly - plus two more restaurants in Pittsburgh and Kansas City. She is also the author of the new children's book, "Nonna's Birthday Surprise."
Seared Lamp Chops with Rosemary
12 rib lamb chops (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Toss the chops with rosemary, oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, and let them stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours or refrigerate, covered, for up to one day.
Heat a heavy griddle or large cast-iron pan over high heat. Add as many chops as will fit without touching. Cook the chops, turning them once, until well browned outside and rosy pink in the center, about 3 minutes. (For more well done chops, add 1 to 2 minutes to the cooking time.) Repeat with the remaining chops, if necessary. As an alternative, the chops could also be grilled.
Cherry Mustard Sauce
1 ½ cup of dry cherries
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons white mustard seeds
4 fresh bay leaves
Put all except the cherries in a pot and bring all to a boil, simmer for 20 minutes, add the cherries and cook for additional 30 minute. Remove bay leaves. Decorate finished plate with 1 teaspoon of sauce and scatter some cherries.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cups scallions (tender green and white parts), trimmed and chopped
1/2 cups onion, chopped
2 1/2 pounds fresh peas in the pod, shelled (about 1 pound)
1 1/4 pounds fresh fava beans in the pod, shelled (about 1/2 pound), blanched, and peeled
1 cups zucchini, finely diced
1/2 teaspoons peperoncino (crushed red pepper)
Salt to taste
2 cups romaine leaves, thinly shredded
1 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, finely shredded
In a large, heavy casserole with a tight-fitting lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the scallions and onions and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the peas, fava beans, zucchini, and peperoncino. Season lightly with salt. Stir well, reduce the level of heat to low, and cover the casserole tight. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the romaine and mint, cover the casserole, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. (The vegetables should give off enough moisture during cooking to prevent sticking or burning. If you find the vegetables are sticking, you may add a few tablespoons of water. Make sure the heat is very low and the pot is tightly covered before continuing to cook the vegetables. It is fine, however, if the vegetables do brown a little.) Season to taste with salt and serve hot.
Chocolate Bread Parfait
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces country-style white bread, crusts removed
½ cup freshly brewed espresso
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ cups heavy cream, chilled
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Put the chopped chocolate in a bowl set in a pan of hot (not boiling) water. When the chocolate begins to melt, stir until completely smooth. Keep it warm, over the water, off the heat.
Slice the bread into ½ inch-thick slices, and lay them flat in one layer, close together, on a tray or baking sheet.
Pour the warm espresso into a spouted measuring cup, and stir in the sugar until sugar dissolves, and stir in half the melted chocolate. Pour the coffee-chocolate sauce all over the bread slices, then flip them over and turn them on the tray, to make sure all the surfaces are coated. Let the bread absorb the sauce for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, whip the cream until soft peaks form.
To assemble the parfaits: Break the soaked bread into 1-inch pieces. Use half the pieces to make the bottom parfait layer in six serving glasses, dropping and equal amount of chocolate-dipped bread into each. Scrape up some of the unabsorbed chocolate sauce that remains on the baking sheet, and drizzle a bit over the bread layers. Drizzle some of the remaining melted chocolate on as well. Next, drop a layer of whipped cream into the glasses, using up half the cream. Top the cream layer with toasted almonds, using half the nuts. Repeat another layer of all ingredients. To finish, dollop another layer of whipped cream, using it all up, and sprinkle the remaining almonds and drizzle remaining melted chocolate on top of each parfait.