Easter Recipes Revamped

Overhaul your holiday meal plan with these updated recipes and contemporary cocktails.

While we hope the chocolate bunny never goes out of style, other Easter favorites are in desperate need of a serious overhaul. Here’s your short list for a modern Easter brunch, dinner and dessert—complete with contemporary cocktail pairings—sourced from inventive chefs around the country.

Easter brunch THEN: Eggs Benedict with mimosas

Easter brunch NOW: Eggs Acadiana with Tasso Hollandaise and Ginger-Spiced Mimosas 

Recipe courtesy Brant Tesky, executive chef, Acadiana, Washington, D.C.

12 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat
6 ounces fresh Louisiana crawfish tailmeat
5 large eggs
3 teaspoons Tabasco sauce, divided
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, divided
1 tablespoon fresh chives, sliced
2 teaspoons creole mustard
3 teaspoons salt (to taste), divided
2 tablespoons brioche bread crumbs
2 cups white wine vinegar
1 pound butter
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup tasso ham, julienned
Butter or oil, for sautéing
Creole seasoning, for garnish

Fill a large mixing bowl with ice. Place a smaller mixing bowl inside and add crabmeat to the chilled bowl, removing and discarding shells that stick to your fingers. Add the crawfish tailmeat, one egg, two teaspoons of Tabasco sauce, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, mustard and salt to the crabmeat and toss all the ingredients together. Be careful not to break up any of the lumps. Once combined, slowly add the bread crumbs until the meat starts to stick together, and you can make into a cake. Make 8 2-ounce cakes and place on a sheet tray to refrigerate.

Meanwhile, prepare the tasso Hollandaise. In a Pyrex pourer cup covered with wax paper, heat all the butter on high for 1½ minutes in the microwave or until the butter is hot and melted. Let sit for one minute. While the butter sits, put the egg yolks into a blender and add 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt. Put the blender on high speed and let blend for approximately 2 minutes on high. For the butter, skim the top layer of white milk solids off to make clarified butter. With the blender on medium speed, add all the butter through the top of the blender in a slow stream. The sauce should have a mayonnaise consistency. Taste for salt, and if too thin, add more butter. Reserve in blender. In a small sauté pan, sweat the tasso ham. Transfer the Hollandaise to a dish and stir in the ham. Cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate.

Next, poach the eggs. Fill a 4-quart saucepot half way with water and bring to a boil with 2 cups of white wine vinegar. Once boiling, crack the remaining 4 eggs and slowly drop into the water. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes until the eggs are like little footballs. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towels.

To finish, cook the crab cakes. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a nonstick pan, sauté the crawfish-crab cakes using a little butter or oil. Cook until golden brown on both sides, approximately 2–3 minutes per side. Place in the oven for 5 minutes. 

Just before serving, gently reheat the chilled tasso Hollandaise in a double boiler while stirring constantly. To assemble, place the crawfish crabcakes on a plate and the poached eggs on top of them.  Then add the tasso Hollandaise on top and sprinkle with Creole seasoning for garnish. Serves 4.


Cocktail Pairing: Ginger-Spiced Mimosas        

Recipe courtesy VOGA Italia Wine

5½ cups orange juice, chilled
2¾ cups pineapple juice, chilled
½ bottle VOGA Sparkling Wine
½ tablespoon finely grated ginger

Mix chilled orange and pineapple juices in a pitcher. Add sparkling wine and freshly grated ginger. Stir well and pour into Champagne flutes. Serves 4.



Easter dinner THEN: Roast Lamb with Cabernet Sauvignon

Easter dinner NOW: Roasted Colorado Rack of Lamb with Spring Pea Sauté and Pea Emulsion with a Tequila Twilight cocktail     

Recipe courtesy Kelly Liken, chef/owner of Restaurant Kelly Liken, Vail, Colorado

2 ounces lamb scrap
½ cup onions, chopped
½ cup carrots, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped, divided
1 bouquet garni
½ cup red wine
4 cups veal stock
¼ cup parsley, minced                
¼ cup thyme, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 8-bone rack of Colorado lamb, Frenched
1 small piece of cooking foil
1½ cups fava beans, blanched and shocked
2 cups English peas, blanched and shocked, divided
1 cup green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons mint, chopped and divided
¾ cup whole milk
2 cups pea tendrils, picked
1 tablespoon olive oil

Brown the lamb scrap, onion, carrot, and celery in a pot over medium-high heat. Once browned, add the tomato, 1 tablespoon of garlic, bouquet garni and red wine to the pot. Add the veal stock. Reduce by half, strain and reserve for later.

Combine the parsley, thyme, salt, pepper and the remaining garlic. Mix well, then rub mixture onto the lamb. Wrap the bones of the lamb with foil. Grill on medium heat fat side down for 6–8 minutes. Let rest for at least 3 minutes before cutting.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, combine the fava beans, 1½ cups English peas, green onions and butter. Sauté for about 2 minutes or until thoroughly hot and finish with half of the mint.

Heat the milk to a boil and add the remaining of English peas and mint. Process in a blender until smooth.

Lightly coat the pea tendrils with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the seasoned pea tendrils on each of 4 plates, then top with the warm fava bean mixture. Next, pour approximately 2 ounces of veal stock reduction around the plate. Remove the foil from the lamb and cut into four portions and plate. Finally, buzz the English pea and milk mixture with an immersion blender to incorporate air, creating froth. Garnish the lamb and plate with the froth and enjoy. Serves 4.

Cocktail Pairing: Tequila Twilight

Recipe courtesy Kelly Liken, chef/owner of Restaurant Kelly Liken, Vail, Colorado

1½ ounces reposado Tequila
½ ounce Ramazotti Liqueur
½ ounce Port
½ ounce agave nectar
1 ounce lemon juice
Ginger beer, to top

Combine Tequila, Ramazotti, Port, agave nectar and lemon juice in a shaker filled with ice. Shake well then strain into a highball glass. Top with ginger beer.


Easter dessert THEN: Chocolate Easter bunny with a glass of milk

Easter dessert NOW: Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding with a Minty Spiked Lemonade Cocktail

Recipe courtesy David Guas, executive chef/owner of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery, Arlington, Virginia

1 cup granulated sugar
1 pinch kosher salt
4 tablespoons cornstarch
⅓ cup cocoa powder
2 ½ cups whole milk, divided
4 egg yolks
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet (66–72% cacao) chocolate

Place sugar and salt in large, heatproof bowl. Sift the cornstarch and cocoa into the bowl. Add ½ cup of the whole milk and stir the mixture to make a thick paste.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks. Add the yolks to the cornstarch mixture, whisking together to blend. Place a damp towel underneath the bowl to secure it on the counter and reserve mixture.

In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine the cream and remaining two cups of whole milk. Bring just to a boil, and then remove the pot from heat. Carefully pour about one-quarter of the hot liquid into the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk the milk-cream mixture into the bowl slowly, until all of the liquid has been incorporated and the custard is smooth. Rinse out the pot that was used to heat the milk and cream but do not dry it completely. Pour the custard into the clean pot and add the vanilla.

Set aside a mixing bowl with a mesh strainer or sieve on top of it.

Return the pot to the stove. Cook over low-medium heat while stirring with a high heat rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the custard thickens, about 5−6 minutes. [Note that the custard will look a bit lumpy.] Pour through a strainer or sieve into the bowl, using the spatula to press the hot custard through. Remove the strainer. Add half of the chopped chocolate to the mixing bowl, stirring gently with the spatula until chocolate is completely melted. Add the remaining chocolate and stir gently with the spatula until chocolate is completely melted.

Portion the warm pudding into custard cups or ramekins. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight before serving. Serves 6–8.

Minty Spiked Lemonade

Recipe courtesy Belvedere Vodka

1½ ounces Belvedere Vodka
Handful fresh mint, plus extra for garnish
Fever Tree lemonade, to top
Grapefruit wedge, for garnish

Place vodka and mint into a highball glass, press down with muddler and top with cubed ice and Fever Tree Lemonade. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge and fresh mint.

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