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A Traditional (but Unfussy!) Easter Dinner That Celebrates Spring

The season’s first asparagus, artichokes, and leeks are all on the menu. So is ham!

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The Easter feast falls at the start of spring, a time of new beginnings. The garden awakens with the first shoots of asparagus, leeks, and other vegetables, each of which plays an important role in this classic holiday menu. Artichokes can be steamed and chilled in advance and served with tarragon-flecked mayonnaise as a simple starter. Baked ham, coated with a sweet yet tart citrus glaze, takes center stage. 

 

Roasted asparagus and scalloped potatoes round out the meal with their creamy textures and earthy flavors. A lemon cake makes an ideal finish—especially when accompanied by bunny-shaped sugar cookies, a subtle nod to both the holiday and the season. A combination of make-ahead and last-minute strategies results in an impressive meal that comes together with very little effort.

 

 

The Menu

steamed artichokes
Photography by: Mikkel Vang

To Start: Steamed Artichokes with Tarragon Mayonnaise

It doesn't get more elegant than this chilled appetizer. Everyone will adore dipping tender artichoke leaves in lemony, herb-packed mayo.

 

Get the Steamed Artichokes with Tarragon Mayonnaise Recipe
marmalade ham
Photography by: Mikkel Vang

Main: Marmalade-Glazed Ham

Slices of baked glazed ham are piled high atop a platter, garnished with caramelized orange slices. A chilled Riesling, preferably one from the Pacific Northwest, pairs perfectly with the ham’s sweet, salty, and tart flavors.

 

Get the Marmalade-Glazed Ham Recipe
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Scalloped Potatoes with Leeks

Nutty Gruyere cheese and delicate spring leeks add complexity to this sophisticated potato casserole.

 

Get the Scalloped Potatoes with Leeks Recipe
asparagus
Photography by: Mikkel Vang

Side: Roasted Asparagus

First-of-the-season asparagus needs little more than oil, salt, pepper, and a quick turn in the oven to shine.

 

Get the Roasted Asparagus Recipe
lemon cake
Photography by: Mikkel Vang

Dessert: Lemon Cake

Cap off the feast with a light, spongy lemon cake decorated with your favorite edible flowers (we used fresh borage blossoms).

 

Get the Lemon Cake Recipe
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Photography by: Mikkel Vang

Dessert: Sugar Cookie Bunnies

Serve these sweet rabbits on dessert plates for a charming end to the meal, or wrap in cellophane and set out as party favors.

 

Get the Sugar Cookie Bunnies Recipe
ham citrus
Photography by: Mikkel Vang

The Countdown  

The Day Before

  • Assemble scalloped potatoes, but do not bake; cover and refrigerate. Bake cake. Set table. Chill beverages.

2 Hours Ahead

  • Cook ham. Steam artichokes, and refrigerate.  

1 1/2 Hours Ahead

  • Put potatoes in oven. Make glaze. Score ham, brush with glaze, and add orange slices; continue to bake.

30 Minutes

  • Make tarragon mayonnaise and refrigerate. Let ham rest. Roast asparagus.

Just Before

  • Garnish cake. Slice ham. Pour wine and water.