I get a little bored of the traditional holiday meals sometimes, so I like to play around with them a little. I know that on Easter you're supposed to eat a big ole' plate of ham, but something about ham didn't really speak to me this year as the North Carolina weather turned blissfully pleasant, the azaleas and dogwoods were in bloom, and local, leafy greens started popping up in markets. I wanted something a little springier, lighter, and fresher. Pork, while still coming from pig, seemed to fit the bill. And at the risk of seeming trite or cliche, I kept getting drawn to multicolor, baby versions of normal foods: new spring lettuces, fingerling potatoes, baby carrots, baby zucchini, etc. What can I say? It's springtime.
Easter Lunch for 10
Salad: Spring greens with thinly-sliced white asparagus and shallots, pecorino romano cheese, edible flowers, and grapefruit vinaigrette. I don't know how essential the flowers are to the flavor of the dish, but they added some beautiful color and spring feeling. And to boot, it was kind of fun watching people wonder if they really could eat them. I won't lie to you, this wasn't the best salad I've ever made in my life, but it may be about the prettiest and most talked-about in the course of eating it, so I think it's still a good trade-off.
Entree: Thyme-braised pork loin with raspberry-balsamic reduction, roasted multi-color fingerling potatoes with parsley, orange and rosemary braised baby carrots, and grilled baby zuchini.
I dont' have much experience with pork loins, so the texture wasn't exactly what I was going for, but I'm sure I'll get it with time. The sauce was quite good, however, and complimented the lightness of the pork very well. I will also never get tired of purple potatoes.
Dessert: Sorry there's no picture, but I made SmittenKitchen's lime and coconut cake. I have made this a few times now, and the texture is great, the flavor wonderfully bright and light with a little twist of citrus. I serve it was a raspberry coulis and big dollop of freshly whipped cream.