1. Food

A Make-Ahead Easter Meal

Invite Yourself to Your Own Easter Brunch

By

Cantaloupe Wedges with Fresh Strawberries

Cantaloupe Wedges with Fresh Strawberries

Terri Pischoff Wuerthner

Who says brunch has to be a last minute hassle of frantic cooking? Or the ubiquitous ham and eggs? Brunch is a great time to serve either breakfast or lunch/dinner foods, and you can get away with a simpler meal--especially if it's as satisfying as the one suggested below.

Give your Easter brunch an entirely new twist by making it more of a light spring lunch. Offer a Thyme-Crusted Pork Tenderloin in lieu of the traditional breakfast meats, and roast small potatoes in fresh rosemary and olive oil instead of serving greasy hash browns. Baby spring greens are a great way to usher in this wonderful season, and they are complemented by blue cheese, crunchy sliced almonds and a piquant lemon dressing.

Instead of dessert (who needs it with all those chocolate eggs and jelly beans?), fresh cantaloupe and strawberries add a light touch to end the meal, and the garnish of fresh mint leaves makes the fruit platter colorful enough to use as a centerpiece for the dining table or buffet. 

This Easter meal can be served at any time of day: brunch, lunch, dinner, or even breakfast. It can be made completely ahead of time. Even the pork roast and potatoes can be made ahead and served at room temperature. If the food is covered and stored in serving dishes, nothing has to be done at meal time except to bring out the food, set it on the table, and toss the salad with the dressing.

The recipe for the Thyme-Crusted Pork Tenderloin is Thyme-Crusted Pork Tenderloin . The potatoes, salad, and fruit can be put together early in the morning or even the day before (see instructions below). Just heat the potatoes, toss the salad, and uncover the fruit! The potatoes, salad, and fruit are so simple they merely need instructions, not actual recipes. Since so many people have guests for Easter brunch, instructions and recipes are for 10 people (although all of these dishes are great survivors as leftovers). Instructions are:

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes. Place 20 medium red potatoes (about 3 pounds) on a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, several sprigs of fresh rosemary and toss to combine. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Baby Greens with Blue Cheese, Almonds & Apple--Lemon Dressing. Place 10 cups assorted baby greens in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with 3 ounces crumbled blue cheese (about 1/2 cup), 2 medium red apples that have been sliced and tossed with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice to keep them from darkening, and 1/2 cup sliced almonds. At serving time, toss with a dressing made from 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice whisked with 1/2 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Cantaloupe Wedges with Fresh Strawberries. Peel a large cantaloupe and cut into wedges (removing seeds). Arrange cantaloupe wedges on a serving platter and arrange 2 pints strawberries around and on top of wedges. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

DO AHEAD HINTS:

  • Get potatoes all ready to put in oven, cover, and refrigerate up to a day ahead.
  • Wash and dry greens and place in serving bowl. Place blue cheese, almonds, and lemon-dredged apples in separate little dishes, cover and refrigerate up to a day ahead. Make dressing, cover, and refrigerate up to several days ahead.
  • Cut melon into wedges, cover and refrigerate up to a day ahead. Wash strawberries, and stem if desired, cover and refrigerate up to a day ahead. Wash mint leaves and set aside up to a day ahead.

 This elegant, make-ahead brunch that allows the host or hostess to enjoy the day just may prompt a new tradition in your family!

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.