For those hosting the Easter gathering, the traditional dishes tend to be popular, tummy-pleasing choices.
Easter is holiest day on the Christian calendar. I asked some of my friends about their plans. Many of them are going to a restaurant for Sunday brunch. My Greek friends will celebrate Easter one week later with a hearty meal featuring roast lamb and Greek Easter breads and sweets.
Several weeks ago, while chef Joseph Scarpone and I were cooking in my kitchen, I asked him what he and his extended family eat on Easter Sunday.
“We go to my aunt’s house and she always serves ham,” he said. “I think many Italians have become Americanized, especially on Easter.”
I did a highly unscientific survey and discovered that Italians prepare roast lamb, but many Italian-Americans go the ham route. So do my Irish friends.
Pork takes pride of place on the holiday table. It is, indeed, the other white meat. Pigs are bred to be leaner than they were years ago. Cuts to consider include pork belly, crown roast of pork, pork-loin roast, pork chops and pork shoulder.
Certain fruits and vegetables enhance this main course beautifully. Pork and apples is a perfect culinary marriage. Any type of potato also is welcome here. Cabbage, one of my favorite vegetables, is not just for serving in the autumn and winter. I prepare it year-round. Fresh English peas are in the market now. I like to prepare them the French way with Boston lettuce.
Ham is a fine holiday roast because the leftovers can be turned into a myriad of dishes. The bone goes into the kettle for soup.
I would serve a slightly chilled Beaujolais with this Easter meal. For those guests who prefer white wine, chardonnay with a buttery, oaky flavor fills the bill nicely.
1 10-pound spiral sliced ham, bring to room temperature and wipe dry with paper towels.
1 bottle of port wine or cream sherry
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Set the ham in a roasting pan and pour the wine or sherry over it.
Place the ham in the oven and roast for about 90 minutes, basting it with the port or sherry every 15 minutes.
Allow the ham to rest before carving. Pour the pan juices into a saucepan and heat through. Place the juices in a gravy boat.
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