Chef Michael William Batt of Greenwich, CT, offers these seasonal recipes for a memorable Mother's Day dinner, including a spring asparagus soup, grilled lamb chops with roasted potatoes, and a blackberry peach cobbler for dessert.
Michael William and Gallia Batt with their two children
I credit both my mother and grandmother with instilling a love in me not only for cooking, but for using only the freshest ingredients in my dishes. They started me young—I remember waking up early on Sunday mornings as a 6-year-old to prepare pancakes for my family.
Today, my wife Gallia and I own Food Design Catering in Greenwich, CT, and 2014 marks our 10th year in business. It’s amazing to think that when we started, our two children weren’t even born yet. Working long hours, traveling, and running on little-to-no sleep was the norm. Now that we have kids, one of us tries to be home as much as possible at night and on the weekends—difficult to do when you own a catering business and those are your busiest times. Prioritization, organization, and a great support team make it possible for us to both work full-time, and luckily, with Gallia overseeing the event logistics and me managing and leading the cooking staff, we can usually juggle who is home with our children versus on-site or at our kitchen.
But on those wonderful if rare occasions when we are home preparing dinner together as a family, Gallia and I enlist our children in helping to prepare the meal and use the time to educate them about healthy eating and the importance of using fresh and local ingredients. When I think back on the fond memories I have growing up in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother, I know that this quality time we devote to our family will stick with them for many years to come, providing them with not only a love and respect for what we eat and prepare for others, but also the wonderful memories of the time we spent together as a family.
That idea of quality family time led me to prepare this menu for a Mother’s Day celebration at home. Because we do spend many meals apart, holidays like this that we can spend at home together create priceless memories.
Spring Asparagus Soup with Sauteed Wild Mushrooms
1 large Spanish onion (sliced)
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
½ lb. Yukon gold potatoes (peeled and sliced, ½-inch thick)
3 bunches asparagus (bottoms removed and sliced into 1 inch pieces)
1 cup heavy cream
½ pound of assorted mushrooms (oyster, chanterelle, shitake, crimini, etc.)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. minced shallots
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a medium-sized heavy bottom pot, heat the olive oil over low heat and add the onions, sugar, and salt. Slowly cook the onions, stirring often until they are translucent (about 15 minutes).
2. Add the stock and the potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are cooked (about 30 minutes).
3. Add the asparagus and turn the heat up to high. Cook for 10 minutes and add the cream.
4. Carefully puree the soup in a blender in small batches (don’t fill the blender up to high when you first puree or you will have hot liquid flying around everywhere; add a little first and then add more as the blender is going). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Sauté the mushrooms in the vegetable oil over high heat until browned. Add the shallots and cook an additional 30 seconds and season with salt and pepper.
6. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the mushrooms.
Grilled Lamb Chops with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes & Cumin Yogurt
3 racks of Colorado lamb (ask the butcher to cut it into chops for you)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp. picked thyme leaves
¼ cup olive oil
2 lbs. fingerling potatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced chives
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. honey
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Marinate the lamb with the garlic, thyme, and olive oil in a nonreactive vessel (such as a glass bowl) for 24 hours.
2. Either heat an outdoor grill or a grill pan (these work very well but create a lot of smoke so you need a good exhaust fan).
3. While the grill is getting hot, season the chops with salt and pepper. When the grill is good and hot, use a steel brush to make sure it is clean and then use a cloth dipped in oil and wipe it again. Carefully add the chops and cook for about 2 minutes per side for medium to medium rare. Be careful not to add too many chops at one time, as the bones will burn.
4. For the potatoes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer the potatoes to a sheet tray lined with parchment and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked. Shake the potatoes every 10 minutes so they cook evenly. Remove from the oven and toss with the chives.
5. In a mixing bowl, whisk all of the ingredients until completely incorporated.
Blackberry and Peach Cobbler with Fresh Whipped Cream
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup plus 1 tsp. sugar
2 pints blackberries
6 large peaches; peeled, pitted, and cut into ½-inch dice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Butter a medium-sized ceramic and glass baking dish.
3. Whisk together cornstarch and sugar in a large bowl, then add blackberries and peaches and toss to combine well. Transfer the fruit to the baking dish.
4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and stir just until a dough forms.
5. Crumble the dough onto the fruit in 1-inch crumbs until the fruit is almost completely covered. Bake cobbler until top is golden, 25 to 35 minutes.
6. Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until it is thick.