Glorious Easter Dinner Menus
All the Green Things Salad
This salad is full of lovely textures ranging from crunchy to creamy. You can make the zippy lemon dressing and blanch, drain, and chill the peas and asparagus up to 2 says ahead, but combine all the elements shortly before serving to preserve the color of the avocado and the crunch of the greens.
Honey-Baked Pork Roast
Instead of the traditional cured ham that's full of sodium and nitrates, bake the flavors of honey-baked ham into a pork picnic roast. You can season it up to 2 days in advance for even better flavor. The cooked roast cuts like ham, with firm, juicy slices that go perfectly with a simple honey-mustard sauce. We use a skin-on picnic roast here, which is cheaper than a Boston butt roast—making the holiday a little more affordable.
Herbed Ricotta, Asparagus, and Phyllo Tart
If working with phyllo dough fills you with fear, don't worry—this recipe is beginner-friendly. There's no crimping or folding the dough; you just lay flat sheets of dough on top of each other for a rustic, unfinished edge.
Turmeric-Pickled Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs get way more interesting when the eggs are pickled in a tangy turmeric-spiked brine that also dyes them a lovely color. The longer the eggs marinate in the brine, the firmer they become and the more vibrant the color gets. For a tangier flavor, use some of the brine instead of water to loosen the filling.
This easy get-ahead dish plays off the appeal of spinach-artichoke dip. Assemble everything the night before; in the morning, let the strata stand while the oven preheats, and then pop it in. You don't need to fully blend in the herbed cheese; it's nice to hit little "pockets" of creamy goodness.
Browned Butter Carrot Cake With Toasted Pecans
The Bundt pan makes for a much easier dessert, freeing you from the fuss of stacking and frosting layers. You can bake the cake ahead and freeze it, unglazed: Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap, and freeze in a zip-top plastic freezer bag for up to 3 months (glaze the thawed cake).
Classic Menu: Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Herbs
Use any combination of herbs you like for this easy and tasty starter.
Classic Menu: Carrot Soup with Yogurt
A hint of toasted sesame oil lends depth to this velvety soup. Use real baby carrots, not the whittled-down packaged ones, which are lacking in flavor. Garnish with sautéed carrot strips.
Classic Menu: Champagne Limoncello Cocktails
A sugared rim is a pretty touch—rub a cut lemon wedge on the rim of the glass, and roll in sugar. You needn't purchase expensive Champagne; just be sure to use brut, the driest Champagne, or a dry cava or prosecco.
Classic Menu: Asparagus and Spring Greens Salad with Gorgonzola Vinaigrette
Asparagus with tender greens offers bright spring flavors plus the bite of Gorgonzola in the vinaigrette.
Baked Ham with Rosemary and Sweet Vermouth
This succulent ham takes cues from the Mediterranean with piney rosemary and sweet, herbal vermouth.
Classic Menu: No-Knead Overnight Parmesan and Thyme Rolls
Stir the dough together quickly the day before shaping and baking—no kneading necessary. The dough is more like a thick batter; don't add additional flour or the rolls will turn out dry.
Classic Menu: Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Baby Artichokes
This simple side dish features in-season baby artichokes and fingerling potatoes roasted to perfection. Toss with a small amount of butter, fresh parsley, and grated lemon rind just before serving.
Classic Menu: Lavender-Scented Strawberries With Honey Cream
Showcase the season's first berries in this rich, not-too-sweet dessert. Be sure to use Greek yogurt, which has been strained and is thus very thick and creamy.
Classic Menu Make-Ahead Plan
5 days ahead: Hard-cook eggs; refrigerate in shells.
2 days ahead: Make Gorgonzola Vinaigrette. Blanch asparagus for salad. Make vermouth glaze for ham. Make lavender syrup for dessert.
1 day ahead: Fill eggs (leave off herb garnish). Make soup. Rub ham with seasonings. Make roll dough. Make Honey Cream.
3 hours ahead: Start cooking ham.
1 to 2 hours ahead: Shape dough and allow to rise. Prep artichokes. Quarter strawberries.
While ham rests: Cook potatoes and artichokes. Reheat soup (add water or chicken broth if soup is too thick). Top eggs with herb garnish.
Last-minute: Bake rolls. Make cocktails. Toss salad just before serving.
Perfect Wine Pairings
Pork, the centerpiece of our Easter menu, pairs well with dry rosé wine. Light tannins and berry fruitiness make it a thirst-quenching partner for pork's saltiness. The acidity and dry finish of Jaboulet Côtes du Rhône Parallèle 45 Rosé 2008 ($13, left bottle) also complement the artichoke-potato side dish.
Much the way apple, apricot, and pineapple are ideal partners for pork, so, too, are wines with similar fruity notes. Apricot and yellow apple flavors of Hogue Riesling 2008 ($10, center bottle) make a juicy contrast to salty pork. Crisp acidity and light body keep it from seeming too sweet.
For the fresh fruit dessert, choose a wine that is equally refreshing, like a Moscato. It's generally light in alcohol, with just enough sugar to match our gently sweet dessert. Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Moscato 2008 ($8, right bottle) has lychee and honey aromas that highlight the honey cream.