Seasonal favorites—lamb, asparagus, and peas—star in this simple but elegant country French menu.
Soon after my husband and I moved into our first house, we invited friends and family over for a dinner party. The snow was finally melting in Vermont, and we wanted to celebrate both our move and the new season. As we all squeezed together around the kitchen table, my heart nearly burst with happiness at being able to share a meal with guests in our new home. In the years since, it’s become our annual tradition to host a spring get-together, whether for Easter, to celebrate the lengthening days, or just because.
To me, spring means lamb, so the menu centers around a rolled and roasted boneless leg of lamb stuffed with bright herbs and apricots. Once rolled and tied, the lamb goes right into the oven and, when done, is about as easy to slice as a loaf of bread.
I also like to feature as many fresh spring vegetables in the meal as possible. Asparagus and pea shoots get tossed together for a gorgeous first-course salad. To accompany the lamb are two classic, elegantly simple French-inspired sides: a buttery ragoût of peas, radishes, turnips, and spinach; and a creamy potato gratin, flavored with caramelized onions.
For dessert, I serve a multi-layer carrot cake topped with a creamy mascarpone frosting. It’s a stunner, practically foolproof, and make-ahead. Come to think of it, the whole meal fits that description. And that, along with the warmer weather, is something to celebrate.