Wines for Easter

Recipes and wine suggestions for the best Easter yet.

Easter (April 8) is one of those holidays that is great for showing of the season's bounty. Spring has sprung, and with that, seasonal produce is readily available: asparagus, artichokes and morels are at their peak, while avocados, spring onions and beets are beginning to appear on the scene. Incorporating produce at its best is a wonderful way to design your Easter dinner. With that in mind, the chef at Jack's Oyster House and recent recipient of the Ivy Award, Dale Miller, has created a Warm Asparagus Vichysoisse with a Smoked Salmon Brandade Cake. This straightforward recipe is a great starter and will go a long way to impressing your guests.

Chef Miller presented his take on a classic vichysoisse at the Mirror Lake Inn's Annual Adirondack Food and Wine Festival. Traditionally a potato and leek soup served cold, Miller incorporated asparagus and serves it warm. It can, however, be served cold.

For the Asparagus Vichysoisse:
4 ounces butter
2 cups onion, diced small
6 leeks (about 3 cups), white only, washed and roughly chopped
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced
4 cups (about 2 bunches) fresh asparagus
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine 
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of ground nutmeg (optional)

For the smoked salmon cake mixture:
8 ounces diver scallops
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 cups milk
3/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
2 ounces butter
8 ounces smoked salmon
1/2 teaspoon parsely, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chive, chopped
White truffle oil, to taste
Salt and white pepper, to taste
About 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
Olive oil, for sautéing
Watercress or micro greens, seasoned and dressed with balsamic and olive oil

To make the vichysoisse:
Melt the butter in a medium sized pot and add the onion and the leek. Cook on low heat until soft and translucent.  

Add the potatoes, chicken stock, wine and thyme. Simmer gently until the potatoes are soft. Add asparagus and simmer until soft. 

Using a submersible blender or in small batches in a regular blender, purée the soup until smooth. Strain through a heavy cream and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm until needed.

To make the salmon cake:
Cover the scallops with kosher salt and let stand for 1 hour. Rinse salt off scallops and gently poach in milk until cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Strain, cool and dice scallops. Steam the potatoes in their skins until tender. Peel and rice potatoes with butter. Add in the smoked salmon, scallops, parsley, chive and seasoning. Form into 10 cakes and coat with Panko bread crumbs. Chill and reserve. When ready to serve, sauté smoked salmon cake in olive oil on both sides until golden brown.

To serve:
Place smoked salmon cake in the the center of a soup bowl. Ladle 8 ounces of the soup around cake. Garnish with seasoned watercress dressed with balsamic and olive oil. Serves 10.

Wine recommendations: Chef Miller suggests pairing this dish with a Sauvignon Blanc or Fumé Blanc.  

Looking for a wine to serve? Consult our recommendations below:

Mitchell 2002 GSM Red Blend  (Clare Valley); $15.
Best Buy.
Sagelands 2003 Merlot (Columbia Valley, WA); $13.
Best Buy.
Montes 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Colchagua Valley); $12.
Best Buy.
Zonnebloem 2004 Shiraz (Stellenbosch); $10. Best Buy.
93 Bighorn 2001 Coombsville Vineyard Chardonnay (Napa Valley); $15.
Best Buy.
L'Ecole No. 41 1998 Barrel Fermented Sémillon (Columbia Valley, WA); $15.
Best Buy.
Adelsheim 2000 Pinot Blanc (Oregon); $12.
Best Buy.
Pazen 2001 Zeltinger Himmelreich Kabinett Riesling (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer); $14. Best Buy.

90 Drylands 2006 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough); $15. Best Buy.

92 Gloria Ferrer 1997 Royal Cuvée Brut Sparkling Blend (Carneros); $28.
Editors' Choice.
Llopart 2002 Rosé Brut Reserva Sparkling Blend (Cava); $25.
Editors' Choice.
  Simonnet-Febvre NV Champagne Blend (Crémant de Bourgogne); $13.
Best Buy.
Mionetto NV
Il Prosecco (Prosecco di Valdobbiadene); $11. Best Buy.


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