Chef Lia’s Delightful Easter Brunch

Easter meals don’t need to be complicated to be fabulous.  Instead of a huge dinner, you can opt for a quick and delicious Easter brunch.  This meal is perfect for serving after your Easter Egg hunt.  Just be sure to prep everything ahead of time and you’ll have the meal done in a flash.  Serve some soft, warm egg rolls with whipped butter and a refreshing citrus cocktail or fruity iced tea along with these dishes.

Eggs Benedict with Artichokes,  Pancetta, and Lemon Cream Sauce

4 each fresh steamed artichoke bottoms (or you can used canned artichoke bottoms)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, divided, plus 4 sprigs for garnish (if desired)
4 slices pancetta, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons butter
6 large eggs
4 large egg whites
2 tablespoons marscapone cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2.    Toss artichoke bottoms with the olive oil and half of the oregano. Place them top-side down on half of a large baking sheet. Place pancetta slices in an even layer on the other half. Roast until the artichokes are just beginning to brown and the pancetta is crispy, 12 to 14 minutes.

3.    Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice and water in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside. Beat eggs and egg whites in a large bowl.

4.    Heat the butter in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and cook, folding and stirring frequently with a heatproof rubber spatula until almost set, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and fold in the marscapone cheese and the remaining oregano and the salt.

5.    To serve, divide the artichoke bottoms among four plates. Top each artichoke with a slice of crispy pancetta, equal portions of scrambled eggs and the creamy lemon sauce. Garnish with oregano sprigs, if desired.

Whole Grain Wheat  Salad With Sweet Peas, Asparagus, And Feta

1 1/2 cups semi-pearled farro
12 ounces asparagus, trimmed, and cut into 1 1/2″ lengths
1/2 pound frozen sweet peas, defrosted
12 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped red onion
6 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped coarsley
7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1.    Cook farro in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain.  Transfer to large bowl.

2.    Meanwhile, cook asparagus  in another saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Drain.  Add to farro with tomatoes, onion, and dill.  Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl.  Season dressing with salt and pepper.  Add dressing, olives,  and feta to salad; toss to coat and serve.
Note: If you can’t find farro which is usually found in gourmet Italian markets, you can substitute wheatberries or even pearled barley.

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