Granny’s Salmon Spread & Other Easter Treats

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…

 

Make Ahead Dinner Party Quick & Easy
Granny's Salmon Spread
Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

Granny’s Salmon Spread

Another heirloom from my aunt’s recipe box. As mentioned in past posts, years ago, my dad’s sister Adrienne gave my sisters and me the most thoughtful gift- recipe boxes filled with family recipes. On the back of this particular recipe card is a neat story. My aunt Adee and her mother/my grandmother, Toppa as she was known, were in Dr. Wentzell’s waiting room when Toppa came across this recipe from an (unknown) magazine and copied it down on to a South Florida Museum ticket stub. For those familiar with the Bradenton area, this is a long-since-shuttered museum, located where the Pier restaurant currently resides. I have memories of my grandmother making this dip around the holidays, and thought it would be perfect for an Easter brunch. In the 1950s smoked salmon was not as readily available as it is now… hence the addition of liquid smoke in my grandmother’s original recipe. Swapping the liquid smoke/canned salmon for a hard smoked salmon (see note if you prefer to use liquid smoke), and the addition of lemon juice, are the only alterations I have made. I love the throwback of forming the spread into a ball and rolling it in the pecans and parsley, and have kept this step in the recipe, however, if you prefer to serve as a spread, just skip the last step and sprinkle with the parsley and pecans instead.
Prep Time10 mins

Ingredients

  • 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
  • cup toasted pecans chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Crackers and cut vegetables for serving

Instructions

  • 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 & Gruyere Tart

 

Dinner Party Quick & Easy

Asparagus & Gruyere Tart
Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

Asparagus and Gruyere Tart

Spring cooking doesn’t get more simple than this gorgeous asparagus tart. Store-bought puff pastry makes putting this together a cinch- and fresh, in season asparagus makes it a special April treat. I hear all the time from home cooks that they are intimidated by working with doughs and crusts. If that’s you… don’t fret! Puff pastry is one of the easiest, most forgiving doughs you can work with. Simply thaw in the fridge and roll out. The crust puffs up beautifully around the edges and is buttery and scrumptious under the cheese and asparagus. I’ve been making this Martha Stewart recipe for a few years now, but have made it even better with my own zesty additions. I know you will love it! (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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

 

Make Ahead Dinner Party Quick & Easy
Basil Pesto Deviled Eggs
Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

Basil Pesto Deviled Eggs

Who doesn’t love deviled eggs? They are a staple on Easter - super traditional and super tasty. But why not give them a little pizzazz? There are so many different ways to infuse flavors into these little guys, but one of my favorites is to bring in a little bit of Spring with fresh, vibrant taste of basil. Using a good quality, store-bought pesto is totally acceptable here. The piquant garlic, pungent parmigiano, and sweet pine nuts blend with the creamy egg yolks in the most amazing way. You’ll never go back to plain deviled eggs again!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon basil pesto
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 12 small mint leaves for garnish
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • 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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6 Comments

  • Joan says:

    5 stars
    I love your recipes. They are so easy to follow and every one that I’ve made has been delicious. I second what you say about puff pastry. For the longest time I was intimidated by dough- but then I made an appetizer with puff pastry and realized how simple it is. I can’t wait to try your tart.

  • Susan W Las says:

    5 stars
    Love the recipes,tried them all,perfect for spring.Doing a birthday lunch for a friend in May and will make all of the above and a salad.Try the puff pastry with cream cheese and basil pesto then when the tomatoes are ripe arrange them on top and drizzle with olive oil and when cook a sprinkling of fresh basil.

    • KeyLimeLexi says:

      Thank you for your comments Sue! So happy you enjoyed them all! That sounds great – puff pastry is such a versatile ingredient!

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