WHEN PLANNING YOUR EASTER meal this year, think of seasonal ingredients you weren’t able to enjoy during the winter. Our menu doesn’t stray too far from the traditional staples—why mess with perfection?—but its lineup of fresh ingredients and creative techniques will lighten up your Easter meal.
Appetizer: Creamy Pea Soup
Creamy pea soup is a great addition to an Easter menu, but grocery-store pods can conceal tough, starchy pellets that will compromise the soup’s velvety texture. So skip the fresh pods and take a stroll up the frozen foods aisle. Our Creamy Pea Soup recipe highlights the natural sweetness of frozen peas and can be made up to three days in advance. Don’t forget to add some mint garnish for a fresh finish.
Main Event: Crumb-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce
To doll up our main dish, we made a panko breadcrumb coating spiked with mustard, thyme, garlic, and lemon zest. We opted for a relatively low 300-degree oven which gave us perfectly cooked meat in less than an hour. And to make sure this handsome cut really shines as a festive centerpiece, whip up our quick fresh mint sauce. (If you want your lamb to turn a few more heads at the dinner table, ask your butcher for a “frenched” style lamb cut. See the “Lamb at the Market” section in our recipe to learn more about frenched versus not frenched.)
Sides: Arugula, Radish, Mint, and Pea Salad + Asparagus Gratin + Buttered Carrots
These three sides will add some color and crunch to your meal, complementing your lamb dish beautifully. Our Arugula, Radish, Mint, and Pea Salad features some of spring’s best vegetables and only takes 30 minutes to come together. Next up, we chose asparagus. Most asparagus gratin recipes smother this delicate spring vegetable in heavy sauces, so in our recipe we looked for ways to avoid this. For a dish more like a light spring jacket than a bulky woolen coat, we approach the asparagus and sauce separately, and then bring them together for a quick broil to brown the top. To complete this trio is our final pairing: buttered carrots. We adapted a classic French cooking technique to create a carrot side dish that is truly sweet, earthy, and complexly flavored.
Dessert: Carrot Cake Cookies
There aren’t really any rules when it comes to dessert for Easter, but we’d like to suggest something lighter after having a gamy or meaty main dish. Our Carrot Cake Cookies recipe will make the Easter bunny—and more importantly, you and your guests—proud.
Bonus Recipe: Pickled Beet Eggs
Just look at them! Our Pickled Beet Eggs are eye-catching, make-ahead, and only require 10 minutes of hands-on work for an appetizer or side dish everyone will be talking about. They’re Easter eggs you’ll actually want to eat.
What's on your Easter menu this year? Let us know in the comments!