Classic Easter Holiday Recipes and Wine Pairings
Whether you’re entertaining at home or going to visit family and friends for the holiday, picking the right wine to pair with such a wide array of traditional Easter foods can be a daunting task. We’ve rounded up six popular dishes with recipes and easy wine pairings to help cut through the noise, whether a spring pea salad appetizer, or roasted lamb and glazed ham.
Jump Straight to a Recipe
“Peas are the bell ringing in spring,” says Jeremy Fox in his upcoming book, On Vegetables (Phaidon), scheduled for release this month. Fox, the executive chef at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, California, is known for intricate vegetable concoctions, though his simpler dishes are equally impressive.
The chef likes pea shoots for this salad; they’re delicious and widely available in the spring. Stir-fry the stems, include the leaves and reserve the sweet curly tendrils for garnish, as Fox does here. Buy the smallest peas you can find and don’t overcook them: They should pop like caviar.
- 1½ pounds peas in pods (or 2 cups shelled)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- ½ cup pea tendrils or shoots
- 1 packed tablespoon fresh mint chiffonade
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 ounces pecorino romano
Shuck peas, if in pods.
Fill large bowl with ice water. Set aside.
Boil medium pot of well-salted water over high heat. Add peas and reduce heat to medium. Cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and immediately transfer peas to ice water until cool. Drain and spread peas on paper towels. Let peas dry completely.
In medium bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and shallot. Toss mixture with peas, tendrils and mint. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Divide dressed peas among plates. Using vegetable peeler, shave pecorino over top. Finish with more pepper, if desired. Serves 4.
Marisa Cuomo 2015 Furore Bianco (Costa d’Amalfi). “From terraced vineyards overlooking the sea, Falanghina and Biancolella grapes soak up all that sun-kissed sea air,” says Kathryn Coker, wine director for the Rustic Canyon family of restaurants and co-owner of Esters Wine Shop & Bar in Santa Monica. “This mineral-driven white wine brings out the pecorino while letting the peas be the star.”
The leftover pea pods make a terrific quick stock for soups or risotto. Combine them in a pot with 6 cups water, 1 chopped onion, a handful of parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Strain and reserve.
Recipe courtesy Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard, New York City
Most home cooks have their own signature techniques and ingredients when it comes to making deviled eggs—we’ve seen everything from ham to raisins to sardines making appearances as fillings in these popular hors d’oeuvres. But sometimes there’s no substitute for the original, which is why we turned to Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard in New York City to give us their recipe for the perfect, simple deviled eggs. No gimmicks required.
- 10 hard-boiled eggs
- 1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar
- ½ teaspoon of Coleman’s Dry Mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 7 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon curry powder (optional)
Gently crack the shells of the hard-boiled eggs and peel them under cool running water. Cut a small sliver off of the ends of each egg, so that it will sit on a plate, then slice in half, length-wise. Remove the firm yolk, setting the whites aside. Blend the yolks in a food processor until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until thoroughly mixed. Pipe or spoon mixture into egg white “cups” and refrigerate until served. Makes 20 deviled eggs.
Popular for a party, creamy deviled eggs call for a celebratory wine. Break out something bubbly like Prosecco, Crémant, or Cava. Not only are these sparkling wines festive, they also compliment the richness of the hors d’oeuvres and refresh your palate, getting you ready for another egg. Because you can’t just eat one deviled egg, can you?
Courtesy Aran Goyoaga, writer, photographer and food stylist, Seattle
This savory galette epitomizes the food of Aran Goyoaga, a Seattle-based writer, photographer and food stylist. Born in Spain’s Basque Country, Goyoaga has an award-winning blog, Cannelle et Vanille, a cookbook, Small Plates and Sweet Treats (Little, Brown and Company, 2012), and a must-follow Instagram account (@cannellevanille). Each illustrate a world where everything is in season and tables are gorgeously spread. Don’t avoid asparagus because of its perceived trickiness to pair with wine—oven-roasting asparagus brings out its natural sweetness, rendering it more wine-friendly.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 leek (white and pale green part only), thinly sliced
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- ½ cup finely grated Idiazabal cheese (or substitute Manchego, Pecorino Sardo or Pecorino Toscano), divided
- Savory pie dough (single crust, recipe below)
- 6 ounces asparagus, woody bases trimmed, sliced thinly lengthwise
- 1 egg white
Preheat oven to 425˚F. Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add leeks, onion, garlic and large pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until soft and a little caramelized, about 8 minutes. Transfer to bowl, and let cool 5 minutes. In another bowl, whisk together whole egg, cream and ¼ cup cheese, then mix into leek mixture.
Roll dough into large disk, about 13-inch diameter. Place on parchment-lined sheet pan. Spread leek mixture atop dough, leaving 2-inch border. Top with asparagus and salt and pepper lightly. Fold edges of pastry over filling, pleating as you go. Pinch together any cracks. Lightly whisk egg white, and brush pastry with it. Sprinkle top of filling and dough with remaining cheese. Bake 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Serves 2–4.
- ½ cup superfine brown rice flour
- ⅓ cup quinoa flour
- ⅓ cup almond flour
- 2 tablespoons potato starch
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons ice water
Goyoaga’s tender galette dough is a keeper whether you avoid gluten or not. You can add gluten easily by using 1¼ cups all-purpose flour in place of the flours listed above.
Add dry ingredients into bowl of food processor. Pulse briefly to combine. Add cold butter. Pulse until butter is reduced to pea-size pieces. Add ice water. Pulse just until dough comes together (it should hold together when pressed between fingers). Add additional water, if needed. Roll dough into ball. Encase in plastic wrap, and press down to form disk. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Pinot Blanc is classic with an onion and leek tart. This bottle has smoky, nutty notes that are echoed in the cheese, and its lemony acidity and subtle oak act like Hollandaise sauce on asparagus.
Saké can be a smart option for foods that are vexing pairing partners. Junmai Daiginjo is a labor-intensive style that’s delicate, complex and fragrant. Gekkeikan’s Horin boasts floral and melon aromas with a creamy palate that brings together the tart’s elements.
This bright-green spread is a break from heavy, cheese-laden dips. Bringing together the freshness of basil and peas and the brightness of lemon juice, it’s best served with fresh crudité alongside a zesty glass of white wine or rosé.
- 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 6 ounces fresh spring peas, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Combine chickpeas, spring peas, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in food processor. Process into thick paste. Scrape down sides of container. With processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until spreadable. Transfer to airtight plastic container and refrigerate. May be made up to 2 days ahead. Makes 2¼ cups.
With the freshness of peas and the basil, go for a lighter-style, veggie-friendly white wine. A bright Verdejo from Rueda, a zesty California Sauvignon Blanc or an Austrian Grüner Veltliner will welcome these spring flavors.
Artisan charcutiers are geniuses at curing pork, but in terms of the glaze they include for your ham, you may be better off making your own. Try this quick, delicious recipe.
- ½ ham (6–8 pounds)
- 1 2-liter bottle of Coke, divided
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1½ tablespoons dry mustard powder
- ¼ cup dark rum
- Juice of 1 lime
Preheat oven to 325˚F.
Place ham on rack in roasting pan. Pour 4 cups of cola into pan. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, reduce 3 cups of cola over medium-high heat until syrupy (yields ½ cup). Stir in brown sugar, mustard powder, rum and lime juice.
Raise oven heat to 425˚F. Meanwhile, discard foil and make shallow cross-hatch cuts over surface of ham. Using a pastry brush, cover ham with cola glaze and bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the ham’s internal temperature is 140˚F. Brush on additional glaze every 10–15 minutes during cooking. Serve with the pan’s juices.
Ham is a tidal wave of salty, rich and smoky succulence so to balance it requires low tannins and loads of fresh fruit. For reds, try Beaujolais, Frappato or Russian River Pinot Noir. For whites, Grüner Veltliner, off-dry Riesling or even Sauternes can be unexpectedly refreshing. For sparklings, try rosé or Lambrusco.
Growing Grapes and Grass-Fed Meat
Rachel Ahlmann not only perfected the roast lamb recipe, but she’s also in charge of raising the lambs, pigs and cows on the sprawling 4,300-acre Six Sigma Ranch near Lower Lake, California. She rotates the pigs and sheep between pastures, cares for orphaned lambs and doctors the sheep when needed. West Coast readers can contact Rachel to order grass-fed beef and lamb, and pastured pork from sixsigmaranch.com.
Recipe courtesy Rachel Ahlmann, Six Sigma Ranch, Lower Lake, California
Food and wine pairings don’t get any more local than this one. Both the lamb for this tender, slow roast and the grapes for the suave Tempranillo were raised on the Six Sigma Ranch in California’s scenic Lake County. Infused with fresh herbs and lemon juice, this dish makes a statement when you have several guests to feed. Even better, thanks to its long roasting time, the entrée is virtually foolproof. The recipe comes from Rachel Ahlmann, whose family owns Six Sigma.
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
- 1 bone-in leg of lamb (4–5 pounds)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 10 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup dry red wine
Heat oven to 400˚F.
Rinse and dry lamb. Arrange onions on bottom of roasting pan, and lay lamb on top. Rub lamb with lemon juice. Remove leaves from 5 rosemary sprigs and chop. Pat chopped rosemary leaves and garlic evenly over meat. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast lamb for 30 minutes. Cover roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Reduce heat to 300˚F. Cook for 3½ hours. Transfer lamb to carving board. Let rest, covered, for 20 minutes before carving.
After transferring lamb, place roasting pan on stove burners over medium heat. Add remaining rosemary sprigs, chicken stock and wine. Stir with wooden spoon until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Strain sauce and reserve. Slice lamb and serve with sauce drizzled over top. Serves 6–8.
Dense, tannic wines like Tempranillo cut through the fattiness of the lamb, while the ripe, saturated fruit and tobacco flavors merge with the earthy, savory essence of the roast. The current release, Six Sigma 2013 Christian’s Reserve Tempranillo (Lake County), makes a great match, but the 2006 vintage would be even more sublime.
- 1Aim to Peas with This Pea and Pecorino Salad
- 2The Original Deviled Eggs
- 3Asparagus, Leek and Idiazabal Galette
- 4Spring Pea Basil Spread
- 5Coca-Cola and Rum-Glazed Ham
- 6Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb