If there were any justice for cooks, Easter would be regarded as our national food holiday, rather than Thanksgiving.
In the late fall, we’re pressed for ingredients. That’s not so in the spring. Take a turn around the produce section or your local farmers market: The problem isn’t finding something to cook; it’s having to choose from among so much.
Just look: asparagus, artichokes, sweet little onions, cucumbers, strawberries, vibrant spring greens, radishes, sugar snap peas, baby carrots and the first of the fresh herbs.
What’s even better, when you’ve got ingredients like that to start with: You hardly have to do any cooking at all. With that in mind, we’ve proposed an Easter menu of almost infinite flexibility that can be put together in no time at all.
It’s taken for granted that your centerpiece will be ham, so we’ve included two old favorites--a reasonable facsimile of that well-loved spicy-sweet commercial ham and a glorious production piece by Los Angeles cook Claudia McQuillan. (If you’re bucking the tide and serving lamb, you probably already know what to do.)
To go with the hams, we’ve selected half a dozen ideas for appetizers, side dishes and desserts, featuring the best of spring produce (see above). Mix and match as you see fit.
There are times that recipes are almost superfluous. Maybe that’s a kind of thanksgiving in itself.