Something old, something new, something borrowed…
It’s not what you’re thinking, no one’s getting married! This is my Easter post, and I’ve got three recipes that bring this old saying to “Topp” of mind.
Lots of people have an Easter main they make every year, usually a honey ham or a leg of lamb. So I focused on dishes that can round out the brunch table, and won’t have you toiling away in the kitchen all morning.
First up is an old family recipe from my grandmother, Lynda Topp Beall, for a delicious smoked salmon spread. It’s perfect as an hors d’oeuvres, or equally nice spread on English muffins or bagels…
Granny’s Salmon Spread
- 6 ounces hard smoked salmon see Tips & Tricks below
- 3 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon grated onion
- 1-2 teaspoon jarred or freshly grated horseradish depending on how spicy you like it
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup toasted pecans chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Crackers and cut vegetables for serving
- Combine all the ingredients except the parsley and nuts in a bowl and mix well. You could use hand held beaters to make it easier to blend if you like.
- Place the nuts and parsley in a bowl. Form the cream cheese mixture into a ball and roll in the nuts and parsley. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Tips & Tricks
- If you’d like to use canned salmon and liquid smoke, the proportions are ¼ teaspoon smoke to 12 ounces of canned salmon. You will need to increase the cream cheese to 5 ounces, but all other proportions stay the same.
- Otherwise look for a hard smoked salmon, either canned or packaged and refrigerated in the seafood department (don’t use Lox or the sliced soft smoked salmon, which won’t work in this recipe).
Second, a borrowed recipe- originally from Martha Stewart, but with tweaks of my own- for a seasonal and festive tart that will look like you spent hours perfecting, but really takes minimal time and effort to put together…
Asparagus and Gruyere Tart
- 14 ounces frozen puff pastry preferably all butter
- ¾ pound asparagus tough ends snapped off
- 4 ounces gruyere cheese grated (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 ½ ounce parmesan cheese grated (about ⅓ cup)
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Let the puff pastry thaw in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours until it can be rolled out. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a rectangle about 12 x 16. You can trim the edges if you’d like a more finished look, but don’t worry too much about precise measurements. Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, score the dough 1” from the edge all the way around, being careful not to cut all the way through. Prick the interior all over with a fork.
- In a bowl, mix the cheeses with the rosemary. Cover the bottom of the dough with both cheeses up to the edge of the score mark to create a crust. Drizzle the asparagus with the oil, season with ¼ teaspoon salt, and lay horizontally over the dough. Crack some fresh black pepper over top, then place in the oven. Cook 30-35 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven, transfer to a large wooden cutting board, and serve.
And what’s an Easter brunch without deviled eggs? In this last recipe I freshen up an ol’ time favorite, adding delicious basil pesto to the filling. You can’t beat this flavor…
Basil Pesto Deviled Eggs
- 6 large eggs
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon basil pesto
- 1 tsp Lemon juice
- 12 small mint leaves for garnish
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Place the eggs in a pot of water and place over high heat. When it has reached a good, steady simmer, cover the pot and turn the heat off. Let the eggs sit for 12 minutes. Remove the eggs and place in a bowl of ice water. This step not only cools them down quickly, but shocking them in ice water makes them easier to peel.
- When the eggs have cooled, peel and place on your cutting board. Cut in half lengthwise, and remove the yolks and place in a small bowl. Add the pesto and lemon juice and mash and mix until creamy and smooth. Taste for seasoning. Depending on your pesto, it may need a pinch of salt.
- Use a small spoon to fill the egg whites with the filling. Place on a serving platter and top with a sprig of mint. The eggs can be made several hours ahead of time and refrigerated.
Easter in Florida never looked, or tasted, so good!
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