8 Delicious Easter Recipes

Easter comes just as farmers' markets are crowded with new asparagus, fresh-dug carrots, and the first foraged wild mushrooms. These flavors usher in the new season, and they're the inspiration for our simple, elegant holiday feast.

Classic Baked Ham with Maple-Mustard GlazeClassic Baked Ham with Maple-Mustard Glaze
Classic Baked Ham
Ham is the centerpiece of any Easter meal; it's quick to prepare and easily serves a crowd. A simple maple-mustard glaze delivers the sweetness of traditional pineapple rings and maraschino cherries, but adds a layer of spice.
1 cooked, bone-in half ham (about 7 to 8 lbs.)
15 whole cloves
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Cut off the tough, leatherlike skin from ham (if it has it; some hams will not), and score the fat in a crosshatch pattern. Stud ham all over with cloves, put in a large roasting pan, and loosely tent with foil. Bake until a thermometer inserted in center of thickest part (not touching the bone) registers 135°, about 20 minutes per lb. or 2 to 2 1/2 hours total, basting occasionally with any accumulated juices.
2. While ham is baking, make the glaze: In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, maple syrup, and mustard. Whisk until smooth. When ham has about 40 minutes left to bake (internal temperature will be 120° to 125°), brush generously on all sides with glaze. Continue baking until ham reaches 135° and glaze is well browned.

Baked Chiles RellenosBaked Chiles Rellenos
Baked Chiles Rellenos
This casserole version of the Mexican specialty is perfect for a spicy Easter brunch. This dish can be prepared through step 5 up to a day ahead and chilled (bake an extra 5 to 10 minutes).
8 poblano chiles
3/4 pound fresh high-quality Mexican chorizo
1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves
12 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup freshly shredded jack cheese
1. Preheat broiler. Lay chiles in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cook about 4 in. from broiler until chiles are blistering and black, about 5 minutes. Turn chiles over and broil until blistering and black all over, about 5 minutes. Put chiles in a large metal bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Let sit 15 minutes.
2. Peel chiles and discard skins. Cut off stem ends and discard; remove seeds. Set chiles aside on layers of paper towels to dry.
3. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook chorizo, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until cooked through, about 4 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, mix chorizo, cotija, and oregano. Stuff chiles with mixture and lay them in an 8- by 12-in. baking dish.
5. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until they are thoroughly broken up and uniform in color and texture. Whisk in flour, baking powder, and salt. Sprinkle chiles with 1/2 the jack cheese. Pour egg mixture over chiles and sprinkle with remaining jack.
6. Bake until top starts to brown and the eggs are set but still soft, about 30 minutes.
Beautiful make-ahead Easter brunch

Grilled Asparagus with LemonGrilled Asparagus with Lemon
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon
Crisp-tipped, juicy, and tender, these spears are great with lamb or fish. Opt for fat asparagus-the spears will be tender but not mushy when the tips are crisp. Lemon zest, versus juice, gives a lot of flavor without too much acidity or moisture.
4 pounds fat asparagus spears
About 1 1/2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
About 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
About 1/2 tsp. pepper
Zest of about 1 1/2 medium lemons
Couple of squeezes lemon juice (about 1 tsp.)
1. Heat a grill to medium-high (about 400°). Shave thick, fibrous asparagus stalks with a vegetable peeler, laying stalks flat against a work surface to keep them from breaking under the pressure. Break off woody lower stems. Toss stalks gently with 1 1/2 tbsp. oil, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
2. Lay asparagus on cooking grate and grill, covered, in 2 batches if necessary; turn often until lightly browned all over and tips are crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, seasoned to taste with lemon zest, juice, and a little more oil, salt, and pepper.

Easy Hot Cross BunsEasy Hot Cross Buns
Easy Hot Cross Buns
Despite the old rhyme, hot cross buns are no longer one a penny, but a quick shortcut makes them an Easter tradition well worth reviving.
1 loaf frozen bread dough (1 lb.)
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons brandy
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1. Thaw frozen bread dough following package directions. Place in a large bowl, cover, and let stand until pliable and no longer cold, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
2. In a small bowl, soak raisins in brandy for 30 to 40 minutes. Add raisin mixture and nutmeg to dough. In bowl or on a board, knead raisins into dough. With floured hands, divide dough into 12 equal pieces; shape into round rolls. Place about 2 inches apart on a buttered baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 20 minutes. In a bowl, beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush buns with egg mixture (discard remainder). Bake rolls in a 350º oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let stand 10 minutes.
3. In a bowl, mix powdered sugar and milk. With a spoon, drizzle icing over buns in the shape of a large X.

Flageolet Beans with Fresh FennelFlageolet Beans with Fresh Fennel
Flageolet Beans with Fresh Fennel
Beautiful little flageolet beans are a classic accompaniment for lamb, but you can use pretty much any dried white bean for this recipe.
2 1/2 cups dried flageolet, cannellini, or other white bean
3 dried Mediterranean bay leaves*
About 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1 1/2 cups diced fennel bulb (save leafy fennel fronds for garnish)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
About 2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1. Put beans in a large heavy pot with enough water to cover by 1 1/2 in. Bring to a boil over high heat, covered; then turn off and let sit 2 hours. Or, soak beans overnight at room temperature without heating.
2. Add enough water to pot now and through step 4 to cover beans by 1 in. Add bay leaves and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat 1/3 cup oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chile flakes, onion, fennel bulb, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion softens, 5 to 6 minutes.
4. Add 2 tsp. salt and onion mixture to beans and cook until beans are barely tender, 20 minutes to 1 1/4 hours, depending on the type and age of beans.
5. Drain beans, keeping them a little bit brothy. Stir in parsley, pepper, and thyme and season to taste with salt. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and fennel fronds.
*Mediterranean bay leaves, the traditional type used in cooking, have an oval shape and milder flavor than California bay leaves, which are long and pointed and have a pungent flavor.

Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Spring VegetablesSlow-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Spring Vegetables
Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Spring Vegetables
Hours of cooking on very low heat makes this lamb fall-off-the-bone tender, and a blast of high heat at the end crisps the surface.
1 bone-in leg of American lamb (about 7 lbs.), all but a thin layer of fat trimmed
4 anchovy fillets*, chopped
3/4 cup pitted green olives
1/4 cup capers*, divided
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves, divided
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup full-bodied white wine
16 baby artichokes, stems trimmed to 1 in.
16 large shallots
2 bunches young, thin carrots
14 to 16 sprigs thyme, divided
Kosher salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 250°. Put lamb in a large (12- by 16-in.) roasting pan with fold-down handles (upright handles will make it hard to seal tightly with foil). Make several shallow slashes all over meat. Put anchovies, olives, 1 1/2 tbsp. capers, and 1 tbsp. oregano in a food processor with 1/3 cup oil and whirl into a paste. Slather paste all over lamb.
2. Pour wine into pan and cover tightly with foil to seal. Roast lamb 4 hours.
3. Meanwhile, trim artichokes: Snap off more than half of leaves (down to the yellow layer), then slice off green tips of remaining leaves and peel fibrous surface from stems. Peel shallots and separate into lobes. Scrub carrots and trim stems to 1 in.
4. Transfer about 1/2 cup juices from lamb to another roasting pan, using a bulb baster. Divide artichokes, shallots, and about half of thyme sprigs between pans, arranging in a single layer. Add 1/2 cup water to pan of vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and seal both pans tightly with foil.
5. Roast vegetables and lamb 1 hour; then add carrots to pans and reseal tightly. Roast until vegetables and lamb are fork-tender and lamb is pulling away from the bone, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours more. Remove both pans from oven and increase heat to 450°.
6. Transfer juices from lamb and vegetables to a bowl, using bulb baster. Drizzle pans of lamb and vegetables with remaining 1/3 cup oil and roast, uncovered, until crisp and browned, about 30 minutes.
7. Stir remaining capers and oregano into vegetables, dividing between pans, and sprinkle with remaining thyme. Let meat rest 20 minutes.
8. Spoon fat off juices, then purée juices in a blender with 4 shallots. Pour sauce into a large frying pan and boil until deep brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Pour into a serving bowl.
9. Set pan of lamb and vegetables on table, with extra vegetables and sauce on the side. Slice meat across the grain or pull off with a serving fork.
*If packed in salt, soak in water 10 to 15 minutes, then drain.

Peas and Potatoes with Bay Leaves and Black PepperPeas and Potatoes with Bay Leaves and Black Pepper
Peas and Potatoes with Bay Leaves and Black Pepper
Right before serving, grind fresh pepper straight into the serving bowl so that spicy burst mingles with the sweet smell of melting butter.
About 1 lb. tiny yellow or red thin-skinned potatoes, scrubbed
2 dried Mediterranean bay leaves
Kosher salt
5 cups fresh shelled or frozen peas
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Put potatoes in a large heavy saucepan with bay leaves, salt to taste, and enough water to barely cover. Bring to a boil, covered. Reduce heat and simmer potatoes until just tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Drain all but 1/4 cup water from potatoes. Add peas (rinse with cold water if frozen) and salt to taste. Cook over medium-heat until peas are just tender and warmed through, about 7 minutes for fresh peas and 5 for frozen. Drain. Stir in half of butter and grind in pepper.
3. Serve hot, topped with remaining butter.
Make ahead: For potatoes, a few hours (keep them in the pot and tip out most of the water). Add peas and reheat.

Asparagus and Prosciutto StrataAsparagus and Prosciutto Strata
Asparagus and Prosciutto Strata
Eggs and asparagus are a perfect pair, accented with salty prosciutto, chives, and lemon. This dish can be made ahead of time, so you can host a fabulous brunch without sacrificing your Sunday morning sleep-in.
1 pound asparagus, tough stem ends snapped off, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 loaf (3/4 lb.) crusty, artisan-style bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
1 1/4 cups shredded parmesan or asiago cheese (about 5 oz.)
1/2 cup chopped chives
6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium pan over high heat, bring about 2 quarts water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until bright green and barely tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. Spread half the bread cubes in a lightly oiled 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Top with half the prosciutto, cooked asparagus, cheese, and chives. Layer remaining bread cubes on top, followed by remaining prosciutto, asparagus, cheese, and chives.
3. In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, lemon peel, salt, and pepper to blend. Pour evenly over layered ingredients. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
4. Bake until center of strata is set and top is lightly browned, 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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