Easter is the highest point of the Christian Year. It is the most important and most ancient Christian festival. In the early church it was the Christian version of Passover. In fact most of the world calls Easter — Pascha. The Sunday of Passover gained special significance because Christians gathered to worship on Sundays (which they called the Lord’s Day) and it was the day that Jesus was raised from the dead.
Scholars think that originally Easter was a uni-feast that celebrated everything from Jesus’ conception, birth, death, and resurrection. Eventually all of the other celebrations were sectioned out to be celebrated separately. Because Passover is marked by the first full moon of spring, Easter takes its cue from this and is celebrated the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. This explains why Easter is a different date every year. Passover celebrates the chief salvation event for the Jewish people – their liberation from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the promised land. These same salvation motifs are maintained in the Christian version of passover, except the chief salvation event is the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus becomes the paschal lamb who takes away the sins of the world by his sacrifice and now reigns victorious over life and death.
In order to connect all these themes we like having lamb as the main dish for Easter. Lamb is a rare treat. We have selected lamb chops with a mint sauce because this really adds some Mediterranean flare. Pair the lamb with your favorite sides. We often like serving it with deviled eggs, a southern treat reserved for Easter and funerals. While eggs were an important part of the Jewish passover seder meal, eggs have also been associated with Spring as a fertility symbol. One of the main reasons that the egg has become the symbol of Easter is the fact that the supply of eggs built up to an almost unmanageable number as people fasted from them during lent. There were too many eggs to eat, so people began decorating them as well. Another side we enjoy is roasted, multi-color carrots. They really brighten up the plate.
Easter is one of the great family meals where the story of our faith is passed down from generation to generation. It is a great time to remember the great moments of salvation history from our faith and families.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Resurrection by Andrea Mantegna; 1457–1459; Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tours. Tempera on panel; 70 cm × 92 cm (28 in × 36 in); Originally part of the predella of the San Zeno Altarpiece, commissioned in 1457.
Grilled Lamb with Mint Sauce
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
3 sprigs parsley
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 rack of lamb
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine the 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, 3 sprigs parsley, 1 Granny Smith apple, 1/3 cup olive oil and 1 tbsp lemon juice into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Place the sauce in a container and store in the refrigerator until needed.
- Slice the rack of lamb into individual chops.
- Place the 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, and 2 tsp fresh rosemary in a glass baking dish and stir together. Place the chops in the baking dish, coating both sides of the lamb and marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Adding a few at a time, cook the lamb chops in the skillet for approximately 3 minutes on each side or until the lamb reaches an internal temperature between 145-160 F.
- Let the chops sit for a few minutes before serving with the mint sauce.