Effortless Gourmet Easter Recipes
Easter (and passover) is, for most people, one of the most important holidays, whether for religious reasons or simply to gather friends and family. The foods we all serve often are not given as much thought as the other important holidays. Here are some really simple recipes to change all that. They are predicated on having especially good ingredients. The recipes include links for finding the particularly important ingredients.
Also, a quick history of Easter Foods follows the recipes.
The Easy Starters and Appetizers
Stone Crab Claws
This one may be the simplest to prepare. These stone crab claws come cooked and ready to eat with a delicious mustard sauce (and a wooden mallet to crack them)
Deviled Eggs with Caviar
- 12 large eggs, at least a week old
- 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (about 1 1/2 tablespoons total)
- 3 medium shallots, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
- Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
- 3 tablespoons red caviar, well chilled
The Easy Lamb Recipes
Lamb Shoulder Braised with Chilies and Dates
Make a simple puree, pour it over lamb shoulder and put it in the oven. Its ready after church or other Easter activities.
- 8-10 dried guajillo chilies
- 3-4 dried morita chilies
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 pound tomatillos, husked and quartered
- 4 medium cloves garlic
- 8-10 pitted dates
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
- 6-7 pounds boneless lamb shoulder roast, with fat cap
- Warm tortillas or rice, for serving
- Diced cucumbers, diced avocado, sliced radishes, cotija cheese, for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C) and adjust the rack to the lowest position. With kitchen shears, cut guajillo and morita (chipoltle) chilies into strips, discarding all the seeds and stems. Toast chilies in a dry skillet until fragrant. Transfer to the canister of a blender.
In the same dry skillet, toast cumin and coriander seeds and add to the blender.
Add tomatillos, garlic, dates, 1 tablespoon (12g) salt, and 1/2 cup water to the canister and blend until smooth. Set chili purée aside.
Using a chef's knife, deeply score the fat cap on the lamb shoulder, cutting all the way through the fat but not the meat below. Season the lamb with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon (6g) salt and place in a Dutch oven fat side up.
Pour the chili purée over the lamb shoulder, spreading it to coat evenly. Cover the Dutch oven and bake until lamb is tender, about 5 hours. Carefully lift lamb from Dutch oven and transfer to a work surface. Skim fat off the sauce in the Dutch oven. Pull meat apart then return meat to pot and mix with sauce. Serve with tortillas or over rice. Try the Carolina Gold Aromatic Rice.
Slow Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 medium shallot, minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 6 anchovy filets, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon zest from 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 boneless and tied leg of lamb, 6.5 to 7.5 pounds
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 275°F. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic, shallot, anchovies, rosemary, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots and garlic are softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Add salt and pepper and mix with a fork to combine.
Cut twine on tied leg of lamb and unroll. Rub half of mixture into inside of butterflied lamb leg. Re-Roll leg and tie securely at 1-inch intervals with butcher's twine. Rub remaining mixture over exterior of lamb. Cook immediately or let rest uncovered in the refrigerator for up to one night for best flavor and texture.
When ready to cook, place lamb on a wire rack set in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to oven and roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into coolest section of lamb registers 125°F to 130°F for medium-rare, or 130°F to 135°F for medium, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and let rest for 40 minutes.
While lamb is resting, increase oven temperature to 500°F. Return lamb to oven and roast until exterior is deep brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Remove twine with kitchen shears, transfer lamb to cutting board, slice into 1/4 inch slices, and serve.
Rack of Lamb - Garlic Crusted
- 2 heads of garlic, cloves peeled
- 1/2 cup rosemary leaves
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Racks of Lamb, frenched (3-4 pounds each)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- In a mini food processor, combine the garlic, rosemary and olive oil and process until the garlic is finely chopped. Season the lamb racks with salt and pepper and rub the garlic-rosemary oil all over them. Set the racks fat side up on a large rimmed baking sheet and let stand for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450°. Roast the lamb in the upper third of the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the racks and roast for 10 minutes longer for medium-rare meat. Transfer the racks to a carving board, stand them upright and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Carve the racks in between the rib bones and transfer to plates. Serve right away.
The Easy Ham Recipes
Really? ... Its in a foil pouch ready to go in the oven. The key to out-of-the world flavor is the natural, without nitrates, "curing" of Berkshire pork. Find what you need here
Wild Rice with Morels and Ramps
- 3 cups water
- 1 ½ cups To-Table wild rice
- 3 ¼ cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Ramps, chopped
- 2 cups sliced fresh Morel mushrooms
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a large saucepan combine the water and the rice, bringing to a boil over high heat. Cover and remove from heat, allowing it to stand for at least 20 minutes. Drain well and return the rice to the saucepan.
- Add about 3 cups of the broth and bring to a boil again over medium-high heat. Stir, cover, and reduce the heat. Simmer gently for about 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
- While the rice is cooking, warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped ramps and sauté for about 3 minutes.
- Add the sliced morels and sauté for another 3 minutes or so. Add the pepper and the remaining broth. Cover and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Set the mushroom mixture aside until the rice is ready.
- Add the rice to the pan and mix well.
Sautéed Fiddleheads with Pancetta
- Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and add the fiddlehead ferns. Blanch for about 5 minutes, then drain thoroughly.
- Use a large heavy skillet to cook the pancetta over medium heat until browned. Saute Morels in seperate pan with 2 tablespoons of butter till tender.
- Add the fiddleheads to pancetta and sauté for about two minutes. Add Morel mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
A Quick History Of Easter Foods
Many easter foods' histories are traceable to pagan rites of spring (eggs=rebirth, ham=luck, lamb=sacrifice, cake/bread=fertility)The Easter bunny or rabbit is...most likely of pre-Christain origin. The rabbit was known as an extraodinarily fertile creature, and hence it symbolized the coming of spring.
Accustomed to eating roast lamb on Passover, Jews who converted to Christianity continued the tradition at Easter. Additionally, Christians refer to Jesus as the “Lamb of God,” so it makes sense that the food shows up at the Easter table. On a less symbolic note, lamb would have been one of the first fresh meats available after a long winter with no livestock to slaughter.
Being the more available meat than lamb in America, ham became the Easter meal of choice early on in American Easter history. It didn't hurt that back in pre-refrigeration days, meat was cured in the fall and ready to eat in the spring, leaving them as the perfect post-Lenten treat.
Eggs have been a symbol of rebirth since ancient times, but it was Mesopotamian Christians who first adopted them as an Easter food. They were also the first to dye eggs, turning them bright red to represent Christ’s blood.
New technology, developed by the famous Cadbury factory in England, allowed manufacturers to create hollow sculptures made of chocolate, instead of painstakingly applying layer after layer of chocolate to individual molds as they had before