For many years, we spent Easter in Arizona with the Fish Wife's parents, hunting for eggs in the cactus garden (ouch!) and eating Sunday brunch at La Paloma in Tucson. Poached salmon was always on the menu. On the occasions that school holidays didn't actually include Easter weekend, we would enjoy Easter in Evanston, hiding eggs indoors, then having brunch with Grandma and Grandpa Burhop.
Our Easter brunch always included scrambled eggs with some sliced Ducktrap cold smoked salmon and fresh chives, clipped from the garden. Our chives are already up about 6" this year, so we will definitely be having our delicious chive & salmon scrambies. And Hot Cross buns, of course!
New this year at our Easter meals will be our son-in-law, who normally celebrates Passover. To honor him at dinner, we will be starting with Burhop's fresh gefilte fish - I'm not brave enough to make my own yet, and the ones Chef Jaimie makes are outstanding. My Jewish friends tell me horror stories of gefilte fish out of a jar that has to be covered in horseradish to be edible, or alternatively of the great gefilte fish their mother/aunt/grandmother used to make. They either loved it or hated it.
Gefilte fish are basically fish dumplings, pretty much the same as a quenelle. My most memorable meal ever was fresh quenelles at Aux Lyonnaise in Paris, one of the restaurants of Chef Alain Ducasse. The quenelles, made with fresh pike, were out of this world delicious, so good that I wouldn't let anyone else at the table even taste them. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water. They were served with a sauce that was like a very light beurre blanc - absolutely perfect with the quenelles. I found this recipe on line for quenelles and will try it out when I have the time! http://www.fishing-in-france.com/french-fishing-guide/fish-dishes/pike-quenelles/
So if you want to save yourself the air fare to Paris, a really good gefilte fish is pretty close! But don't get the ones in a jar - if you live near one of our stores, get some fresh ones, or check for a local fish market that either makes them or will grind the fish for you.
Another of my favorite food traditions for Easter is turning some of the hard boiled eggs into deviled eggs with some salmon caviar on top. We get our fresh eggs to hard boil from the Evanston winter farmer's market*, and they're already in beautiful shades of light tan, dark tan and blue-green, so you really don't need to dye them at all. After they're found and peeled, I cut them in half lengthwise, take out the yokes, mix the yokes with light mayonnaise, salt, pepper and a touch of cayenne, then spoon the filling back in the egg halves and top with the salmon roe. And if you're tired of eating eggs on Easter, you can keep the hard boiled eggs in the fridge for several days and make the deviled eggs for another occasion.
Probably the hardest part of Easter for me is avoiding eating 10 lbs. of chocolate. There always seems to be a lot of it around, probably because I buy it "to give away," but I find that if I have lots of fruit for brunch, I eat less of the chocolate. Whatever works. Have you ever noticed how all holidays seem to center around food?
Wishing everyone a joyous Easter and Passover season!
*Evanston's winter market runs from late November through the end of April and is in the Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd. 9 am to 1 pm every Saturday. Several farmers from the summer market are there, plus several local artisan food vendors. The last few weeks there have been tons of greens - great for brazing with fresh salmon!