Food52 Staff

Our Food Editor's Dream Easter Brunch

There's plenty of classics like ham and lamb on the table—and new dishes remixed for this springy Easter spread.

March 20, 2023
Photo by James Ransom

I grew up in a predominantly Polish family, so most of my childhood Easters were filled with potatoes, pierogi, kielbasa, a butter lamb (or Baranek wielkanocny), and a glazed ham—all of which we’d eat after a ruthless Easter egg hunt in my grandparents’ yard (I’m the youngest of 8 cousins and we are competitive). These days, I like a lot more green in my spreads and I like to add a few non-traditional items, as my Easter celebration has pivoted into more of a spring equinox celebration with friends. Invited to the party are lots of small, snackable items that can fill up the plate without taking over, like sliceable tarts and snacking cakes. Of course, the one thing I’ve kept is the butter lamb, because how could you not want that sweet creature on your table?

Appetizers & Sides

1. Dirty Martini Salad Dressing

What better way to kick off your Easter brunch than with a punchy salad dressing complete with an eye-catching name? Though the recipe does have ¼ teaspoon of gin, the star is the olive brine, which brings complex, dynamic flavor to a simple recipe. Whether it’s a straightforward salad or a plate of roasted veggies, the piquant mix of olive brine, Dijon mustard, and fresh herbs gives this opening brunch act lots of panache.

2. Mortadella & Dijon Tart

Honestly, say less. This genius tart takes a cured meat favorite, mortadella, and turns it into a deconstructed ham sandwich, complete with a mustard spread, melty cheese, and briny cornichons to garnish. Slice it large to make the tart the focus of the meal, or cut it into tinier pieces to give your guests the perfect bite.

3. Bourbon-Braised Leeks With Pistachios

Also from my Plus One column, this side is as beautiful as it is quick and easy. Vibrant, wintry citrus provides brightness, while nutty pistachios lend grassy and savory notes to the stalky allium. Cook in a cast iron and serve on the table as-is for an effortlessly dramatic presentation.

4. Asparagus & Bacon Carbonara

This carbonara recipe from Jesse Szewczyk gets a springy lift from seasonal asparagus, which provides lovely vegetal flavor and adds pops of verdant color to the creamy sauce. The dish comes together in just a few minutes and serves six people, making it the ultimate pasta side. (Considering that it features eggs and bacon, it's also a natural fit for brunch.)

Main Dishes

5. Ottolenghi’s Lamb & Pistachio Patties

I love lamb in all forms, but roasting a whole rack of lamb can feel daunting, especially when I’m also thinking about table settings, appetizers, what cocktails to make, and whether or not those decorative candles will be smacked down by the cat before guests arrive. These lamb patties from Ottolenghi highlight all of lamb’s meaty, grassy notes (with a delicious yogurt sauce to pair), but with less cooking time and fussing with roasting racks.

6. Quiche, Any Way You Want It

We know that eggs are expensive right now. A quiche is an easy way to stretch your eggs and get the most bang for your buck, as you’re adding milk, cream, and (hopefully) lots of accoutrements. This recipe gives you the basic formula for success, but it’s up to you to decide what fillings and mix-ins you’ll add to your Easter quiche. The world is your pie crust!


7. Apple Snack Cake With Turmeric Glaze

After a big brunch, I’m always in search of a dessert that’s going to satisfy my sweet tooth without adding to my food coma. In comes this apple snack cake from Becca Jacobs, with its perfectly light and fluffy texture and bright, spicy turmeric glaze. It’s the ideal finisher to any meal, but especially after brunch, when your guests are lingering with cups of coffee and need a little portable treat. This cake also makes a great gift bag addition when wrapped in a bit of parchment.

8. Earl Grey Cake Doughnuts

To me, tea screams brunch. Combine said tea with cake doughnuts, and you’ve got a perfect brunch dessert. These are sturdy enough to stack into a lovely display for your brunch spread (if they last long enough, that is).

What's on your Easter table this year? Tell us in the comments!

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Emily Ziemski

Written by: Emily Ziemski

Food Editor @ Food52