In the US at least, Easter brunches are usually crowned by one of two dishes - a sweet and salty glazed Easter ham, or a beautiful roast leg of lamb. My family typically goes for the arguably-more-traditional ham (but bridges the gap with a jelly bean-topped, lamb-shaped vanilla cake for dessert).
But like any good holiday meal, half of the decision about what to make should be driven by one key factor - leftovers. While I’m all for a nice split pea and ham soup every now and then, I have to come down on the side of a roast leg of lamb as far as leftover power goes. A quick lamb curry, spicy lamb and sweet potato hash, or a thick lamb stew are all fine options for a full meal in the days following Easter. During the late afternoon or early evening of Easter Sunday itself, however, when the fullness of brunch starts to fade and you find yourself unreasonably hungry, a solid roast lamb sandwich is just the thing to get you through until Monday morning.
Hearty and fresh, this sandwich employs virtuous spinach and red peppers to brighten up a meaty roast while still being satisfying. After all the creamy scalloped potatoes and deviled eggs you’ll probably consume in the morning, the addition of some sharp feta and briny homemade tapenade to the sandwich are just the thing you’ll be craving, and will also balance the richness of the lamb itself. Cambria’s Benchbreak Pinot Noir is a lovely pairing for both Easter Brunch and the obligatory leftovers. And I promise no one will judge you if you open another bottle just to go with the sandwich - after all, leftovers deserve just as much respect as the main event.
Ultimate Mediterranean Lamb Sandwich
- 20 kalamata olives, pitted
- 1 piece preserved Meyer lemon, seeds removed or juice of ½ lemon plus ½ tsp salt
- ¼ c. fresh parsley leaves
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/3 c. crumbled feta
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced or crushed
- 1-2 TBS heavy cream
- 1 medium baguette or 2 mini baguettes, sliced in half lengthwise
- leftover roasted leg of lamb, thickly sliced
- 1 small jar roasted red peppers, drained
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach
- Make the tapenade: place the olives, preserved Meyer lemon (or lemon juice and salt), parsley leaves, anchovy fillets, and olive oil in a small food processor. Pulse several times until all ingredients are finely chopped. If you don’t have a food processor, you can also finely chop all of the ingredients and mix by hand. Remove to a small bowl and set aside.
- Make the feta cheese spread: place the cream cheese in a medium bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and spreadable. Stir in the feta, black pepper, and crushed garlic until evenly combined. Add the heavy cream a little bit at a time, stirring as you add it, until the cheese spread is easily spreadable but not runny.
- To assemble the sandwiches, spread the feta cheese mixture on the bottom half of each baguette. Top with the sliced roasted lamb, then with 5-6 pieces of roasted red pepper and a handful of spinach. Spread 1 tablespoon of the tapenade mixture on the top half of the baguette, and close the sandwich. Serve cold or heat in a panini press or on a grill pan until cheese is melty and lamb is warmed through.