Five-course meals composed with seasonal ingredients are sold-out events at Annemarie Ahearn’s seaside cooking school in Lincolnville. Ahearn’s cookbook, Full Moon Suppers at Salt Water Farm, shows home cooks how to craft their own festive meals around each month’s bounty. In this excerpt, she shares recipes from her May Flower Moon menu.
Grilled Spring Lamb and Salsa Verde
Grilling a whole lamb has become somewhat of a Memorial Day tradition for a big gathering at the farm, but here we instead feed eight using lamb loin chops, which must not be cooked past medium rare. Following Argentine tradition, the meat is served with bright salsa verde, showing off an abundance of spring herbs. Serves 8.
8 lamb loin chops
olive oil for brushing
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peels removed
1 pinch kosher salt
6 anchovy fillets
1 bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked from stems and stems discarded
6 sprigs mint, leaves picked from stems and stems discarded
6 sprigs tarragon, leaves picked from stems and stems discarded
2 tablespoons capers
zest of 1 lemon
juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
½ cup olive oil
Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper and brush them with olive oil. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, make the salsa verde: In a small food processor, chop the garlic cloves with a pinch of salt. Add the anchovies, parsley, mint, tarragon, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, red-wine vinegar, red chili flakes, and olive oil. Pulse until coarse and taste. If it’s too acidic, add a touch of olive oil. If it’s not acidic enough, add a touch more lemon juice and red-wine vinegar.
Get your grill going nice and hot. Cook the lamb until it has grill marks on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn the chops and achieve grill marks on the flip side, another 2–3 minutes. (If you are cooking indoors, place a cast-iron pan over high heat for 3–4 minutes before introducing the lamb. Sear the meat until it’s golden brown.) Do not overcook the lamb. When you press the meat, it should be soft in the center. Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Drizzle the lamb with salsa verde.
Baby Beets, Beet Greens, Fried Garlic, and Chèvre
Young root vegetables with small, tender greens should be considered whole ingredients. The greens are treated differently from their roots, but they are just as edible. Clean them thoroughly and cook them just enough to wilt them. At this young stage, their flavor is earthy and sweet. Serves 8.
a mix of small, colorful beets and their greens (about 12 small or 6 medium-size beets)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 splash red-wine vinegar
1 garlic head, cloves separated and peeled
½ cup fresh chèvre
freshly ground pepper
sea salt to finish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Separate the beets from their greens and wash the greens. In a large baking pan, combine the beets, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the red-wine vinegar, and an inch of water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35–45 minutes or until fork-tender. Peel beets under cold water, discarding the peel, and slice into wedges.
Remove root ends of garlic cloves and slice cloves very thinly. In a large cast-iron pan, slowly heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic slices and fry until they are golden but not brown. Add the beet greens and turn off the heat. The residual heat from the pan will wilt the greens.
On a platter, lay down the beet greens and the garlic and arrange the beet wedges over the top. Season to taste with sea salt. Garnish with pinches of fresh chèvre, allowing the heat from the beets to melt the cheese.