Ciao'd with a cup of Cup o' Soup. 

An Italian Pasqua (Easter) is not complete without lamb. The tradition harks back centuries. A Christian culture with deep Catholic roots, Italians revere the  "lamb of God," as a symbol of Jesus, innocence, and sacrifice. On a more prosaic level, harking back to Italy's agrarian history, lambs are born in the spring and baby lamb (abbacchio) is a treasured accompaniment to the Easter festivities. 

My recipe features rack of lamb. Because it's so easy to prepare and lends itself readily to an impressive presentation, I serve rack of lamb frequently, varying the flavors of the crust with the seasons. Here, I've created a fragrant Moroccan rendition of the traditional Italian gremolata, which is a mixture of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley. I've substituted mint for the parsley and added orange zest and cumin to the mixture. It's a sprightly dish for a spring celebration.



Have your butcher trim off, or french, the thin strip of meat and fat between each chop.  I served the lamb with couscous blended with orange zest, chopped green onions and a dash of chili oil. Orzo with parsley and butter and/or asparagus would make a great side dish, too. 

Serves 6

3/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated orange zest
1 tablespoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 racks of lamb (8 chops each), cut in half

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

In a small bowl, combine the mint, garlic, citrus zests, cumin, salt and pepper, to taste. Score (make small cuts) the fat sides of the lamb. Pat the mint mixture over the racks to form a crust. 

Place the racks on a baking sheet, crust side up, and roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 130 to 135 degrees for medium-rare, 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

To serve, slice the lamb between the ribs and serve 3 to 4 chops per person. 


Ciao'd after the news about Kim K. and the jewels. Celebs they're just like us. Not.



Gremolata is a classic condiment made from three ingredients found in every Italian kitchen: Parsley, garlic, and lemon. It’s also the secret ingredient in the breadcrumbs that top the fish in this recipe, lending brightness to this healthy, simple one-pan supper.

Serves 4

Gremolata Breadcrumbs
1 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Broccoli and Fish
5 cups broccoli florets
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
4 fish fillets of any kind of fish, ½- to 1-inch thick
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, and a generous pinch of salt. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss until the breadcrumbs are moist; set aside.

Place the broccoli florets on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Toss gently to coat with the oil.  Roast for 5 minutes.

Brush the fish fillets with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the breadcrumb mixture on top of the fish in an even layer. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the fish on it, nestling with the broccoli. Return to the oven and roast until the fish is cooked (about 10 minutes per inch of thickness) and the breadcrumbs are browned. (Keep an eye on the broccoli.  Depending upon the thickness of the fish, it may be ready beforehand.)

Divide the fish and broccoli among four plates. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the broccoli. Serve with lemon wedges.