By contributor Rebecca Lang, Quick-Fix Southern
Every Easter at our house is very similar, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The windows are open with the screens in place. One lone hummingbird zips by with the motive of being the very first in line for the red delicacy hanging in my magnolia tree. My son, finally out of his fancy church clothes, is outside running around like a caged animal that has mercifully been set free. Nearly every plant in my yard is either in bloom or is engulfed with brand new electric green leaves. I am in my groove in the kitchen putting the final touches on the lunch that will set the tone for spring and bring our family together once again.
My husband, my children, my parents, and my sister come to the kitchen and are ready for yet another Easter lunch where all things seem new and fresh and forgiving. We are starving and ready for a good glass of wine (milk for the little ones) and this food better impress. My parents’ hard earned money that paid for my culinary school education is expected to produce returns. On holidays, the dividends come with sterling silver and my best china.
One of the main reasons I cook is to bring together those that I love. I adore each and every minute of being at home in my kitchen while my family lingers at the counter. It is here, standing up with plates in hand, that we all give thanks for our food, our Savior, and as my dad says, “All our many blessings.” We usher in Easter lunch with eager anticipation with the hope for a long and mild springtime and remember all the ways that each and every one of us is so very blessed.
Smoked Trout Spread
Little Beet Salad
Jalapeno Deviled Eggs
Pecan-Crusted Racks of Lamb
To make the meal, add some roasted new potatoes
and pound cake with fresh fruit and whipped cream.
Pecan-Crusted Racks of Lamb (Serves 6)
If the lamb racks don’t already have the ribs cleaned of meat and fat, ask your butcher to french the bones for you. I like to use sage, oregano, and thyme for the chopped herbs. Feel free to use whatever herbs you have on hand.
- 2 (1 1/2-pound) racks of lamb, frenched
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh herbs
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place the racks of lamb on the prepared baking sheet. The racks should be lying down with the bones curving toward the bottom of the pan.
- Finely chop the pecans, mint leaves, and herbs. Place the pecans and minced herbs in a medium mixing bowl. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Stir in the olive oil.
- Using half of the herb mixture for each rack, spread the mixture on top of the racks. Pat the herb mixture gently so as to coat the entire top side.
- Bake at 450˚F for 25 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 130˚F for medium-rare. Let the lamb rest at least 5 minutes before carving. To carve, slice between each bone.
Jalapeño Deviled Eggs (Makes 24)
- 12 large eggs
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled jalapeño peppers
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Cover the eggs with about 1 inch of cold water in a large saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. When the water boils, turn the heat off and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. Submerge the eggs under cold water. Peel the eggs while holding them in running cold water. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise.
- Remove the yolks from the eggs and place in a medium mixing bowl. Using a whisk, combine the yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, peppers, and salt.
- Carefully spoon the yolk mixture back into the egg whites.
Smoked Trout Spread (Makes 2 cups)
- 1/2 pound pecan smoked trout
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
- Fresh dill, for garnish
- Crackers, for serving
- Peel the skin from each trout fillet and discard it. Finely chop the trout. Combine the trout, cream cheese, sour cream, lemon zest and juice, dill, mustard, and hot sauce in a medium mixing bowl. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the dill. Serve with crackers.
Little Beet Salad (Serves 4)
If you can’t find small beets, cut larger ones into 1-inch pieces. Although harder to find than the typical red, look for beets that are different colors, like white or yellow. Choose the beets with the greens attached.
- 3/4 pound small beets (about the size of a golf ball)
- 1 cup beet greens
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon coarse-grained mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups mixed lettuce leaves
- Remove the tops from the beets and peel the beets. Cut each beet into 4 wedges. Steam in a steamer basket for 18 minutes, or until fork-tender.
- Meanwhile, choose 1 cup of the smallest of the beet greens, stack the leaves, and slice into ribbons. Set aside.
- Whisk together the red wine vinegar, mustard, ginger, lemon juice, and salt. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the vinegar mixture.
- Combine the lettuce and sliced beet greens and arrange on a small platter. Toss the warm steamed beets with about half the dressing in a small mixing bowl. Pour the beets over the lettuce. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.
Reprinted with permission from Quick-Fix Southern by Rebecca Lang, copyright © 2011. Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing. Photo credit: Rebecca Lang © 2011.