Impressions:

Christmas is solid red, brooding winter green, silver accents, swathed in darkness but swaddled in hearthfire warmth and lit by darting candleglow.

Easter, on the other hand, is delicate daffodil yellow, washed by pale blue skies and chiffon drifts of breeze, dappled with small spring blossoms and spiked by light-green grass spears. Spring, celebrated the world over, religion-wise, declares a welcome and the joy of new, young, striving life.

We think of the epitome of the first strivings of nature and think of lamb and budding vegetables priding their greenness; after so many weeks of the sparse gray sticks and bare metal rocks of winter, we crave the wriggling, curling, stretching vibrancy that is new growth – animal or vegetable!

Here is a menu that celebrates this irrepressible urge for rebirth in life’s most recognizable symbols: the egg, the shoots of young plants, the flesh of young, tender animals. All require the recognition and respect intrinsic to sacrifice in all religions. Easter—born from the very lip edge of spring—is the symbol of the gift of the sacred.

 

THE MENU

 

Amuse

Baked truffled quail egg en cocotte meringue
Gingered green beans on cucumber-shiso sorbet with soy syrup and toasted sesame streusel
Spicy tuna with apples and scallop ice cream in nori cups

Luncheon

Chilled English pea soup with marjoram crème fraiche

Roast leg of lamb on couscous with young leeks and fava beans—red currant jus

White asparagus and herb salad with truffled egg dressing

Roast pineapple with pina colada panna cotta and rum

 

 THE RECIPES

 

 

 

ENGLISH PEA SOUP WITH MARJORAM CRÈME FRAICHE

Yield: Eight portions

Equipment: Three quart saucepan, wooden spoon, measuring spoons and cups, soup ladle, rubber spatula, immersion blender, tamis/drum sieve, medium bowl, small bowl, small fine wire whisk, small ice cream scoop

Ingredients:
One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup minced shallots

1 quart chicken broth
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
6 tablespoons peeled, chopped apples
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 cups frozen or freshly shucked peas
Water to taste to thin soup to right consistency
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup crème fraiche
1 tablespoon minced marjoram leaves

8 marjoram sprigs

Method:
Warm a medium,(three quart) saucepan. Add the olive oil and shallots and sweat over low heat until translucent. About ten minutes.
Add the chicken broth, mint leaves, sugar and apples. Bring to a boil and cook over moderate heat until tender.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add peas.

Blend to fine puree in pan with immersion blender, drizzling in olive oil and seasoning.
Transfer to fine tamis/drum sieve or fine mesh strainer placed over bowl and work pushing through mesh. Repeat until all soup is finished.
Re-season and add water till desired consistency.
Chill until service.

Place crème fraiche in small bowl. Whip till thickened to the consistency of whipped cream. Fold in minced marjoram. Chill until service.

For service, reheat gently over moderate heat. Do not allow the soup to boil or proteins will cook and mar the look of the soup with flecks. Place a scoop of crème fraiche on top of soup.
Pour into hot bowls and garnish with a marjoram sprig.

White asparagus and herb salad with truffled egg dressing. (Photo: Barraud Caterers)

WHITE ASPARAGUS AND HERB SALAD WITH TRUFFLED EGG DRESSING

Yield: Eight portions

Equipment: one- quart saucepan, hat pin, timer, small food processor or blender, measuring spoons and cups, medium bowl

Ingredients:
1 bunch white asparagus to yield 4 C, sliced
1 ½ C flat parsley leaves, washed
1 ½ C chervil sprigs, washed
¾ C 1-inch chive spears
1 C celery leaves, washed

1 large egg
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon truffle oil

Method:
Trim the woody ends of the asparagus. Slice the asparagus very thinly at a sharp diagonal.
Pierce the egg at the fat end with a hatpin or florist’s pin. This will allow the expanding air trapped between the shell and the membrane to escape and not crack the shell. Place in a pan of just-boiled water. As soon as the egg is submerged, raise the heat of the pan to a simmer. Time the egg for three minutes. Shock it in cold water. When cooled, carefully peel the egg under gently running cold water and place in a small food processor. Add salt and pepper, mustard and vinegar. Blitz in processor and drizzle in oils. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Place in a plastic container and chill.

For service, combine the asparagus and herbs and toss together in a medium bowl. Spoon a teaspoon of dressing in the centre of each salad plate. Make a pile of the salad on top of the dressing. Sprinkle with a little salt and a grind of pepper. Drizzle the dressing around the plate and a little on top of the salad. This will ensure that the leaves will not wilt before they get to the table.

 

Happy Easter!

Start the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.