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dyed deviled eggs
Foraging for an Easter Feast

Foraging for an Easter Feast

Farm Foodies

When longtime friends Dana Gallagher (left) and Frances Boswell host a springtime celebration in rural Connecticut, step one is to skip the formalities. Then they rustle up elegant seasonal dishes and centerpieces, using elements just plucked from the surrounding garden and fields.

A Garden Grown Story

Dandelions don't get a lot of love. Gardeners greet the homely yellow flowers with annoyance, if not weed killer. But when food stylist and editor Frances Boswell and photographer Dana Gallagher spy the bright buds each spring, they think the same thing: Lunch! “Dandelion leaves make wonderful salad greens,” says Boswell. “They’re bitter, but in the most delicious way, like watercress.”


It’s Easter weekend, and Boswell has invited Gallagher and her 9-year-old daughter, Imogen, up to her family’s house in West Cornwall, Connecticut, for a few days of cooking, eating, and egg-dyeing. One of the first things the two women do this morning is send their girls out to collect the jagged-edged greens from a nearby field. “The store is a half-hour drive from here,” says Boswell, who’s mom to Sophie, 15, and Plum, 12. “It’s so satisfying to find what you need in nature.”

(Left) Boswell's daughter Sophie picks greens for the meal; (right) Gallagher's daughter, Imogen, and Boswell's younger daughter, Plum, show off dandelion crowns. 

Friends and colleagues for more than two decades (and longtime contributors to Martha Stewart Living), Boswell and Gallagher copublish a blog called Kitchen Repertoire, featuring Gallagher’s beautiful images of Boswell’s inspired recipes. “It reflects the way we live and cook, which is improvisationally,” says Gallagher. “We’ll change gears on a dime, depending on our mood or what’s at the market.”


Which is not to say that their meals suffer from a lack of meticulous planning. Boswell has invited a half-dozen of her neighbors to join them for the weekend’s centerpiece Easter lunch, and the menu, featuring Spanish-accented shrimp and clams, garlicky beans, roasted lamb, and Ligurian-style savory chickpea pancakes called farinatas, is big on flavors and light on fussiness. “The lamb and the farinatas can be served at room temperature,” she explains. “And a handful of fresh herbs makes everything look prettier.”

The girls use beets to dye eggs for pink hues. Gallagher later uses the beets to top deviled eggs. 

There is even time left over for the pair to join their girls in some egg-dyeing experimentation, using turmeric and beets. “It’s surprisingly easy,” says Gallagher, who usually relies on good old Paas. “The beets turn the eggs a gorgeous shade of pink."

Spring Starters

Beet-Dyed Deviled Eggs take on a romantic blush with one of two garnishes: grated beets and horseradish, or ramp pesto. The Forager's Salad features freshly gathered dandelion leaves dressed with olive oil and vinegar. 

Farinata Three Ways

Serve these crisped-edged farinatas (chickpea-flour-pancakes) three ways: with rainbow chardramps, and beets.

Shrimp and Clams in Romesco Sauce

Main dishes also included these Spanish-style shrimp and clams with garlicky beans.

Roasted Lamb

Asparagus and spring onions accompany a butterflied leg of lamb, which Boswell roasts in three pieces to ensure that each is cooked to a perfect medium-rare. 

A Sweet Finish

Spring’s first rhubarb makes a gorgeous compote to spoon on top of the dessert, which a friend dubbed “rosy rhubarb-meringue cake.” It's both beautiful and inspired -- in other words, a classic Boswell-Gallagher collaboration.