In both the Eastern and Western Christian traditions, there are many traditional foods of Easter – their flavors made all the more
memorable by the central importance of this holiday. Still, there’s no absolute commandment that you have to stick with any of these traditional dishes.
Falling year after year near the Jewish Passover, Easter has a way of being about eating and drinking. What is communion, after all, but eating and drinking with liturgical meaning? And if the Gospel report is to be believed, that first communion, or Eucharist, was indeed a Passover meal, or Seder choreographed to commemorate each year the long journey to freedom of the Jewish people. Both holidays are, at heart, a feast to be enjoyed with fellow believers.
Not surprisingly, since Eastern Christianity headquartered with the Patriarch in Istanbul (the former Constantinople) is also known as Orthodox, the faith has many very traditional foods. In Greece and Russia, the two best-known outposts of Orthodoxy, these revolve around a pair of symbol-rich foods: eggs and lamb.
Both associated with new life, and thus with the spring season, they take some lovely forms at Easter. Few forinstance, will ever forget their first sight of a colorful dyed egg inserted into a loaf of sweet holiday bread in the shadow of the Acropolis. And lamb, biblically associated with a sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem and, by extension, with Jesus as the Lamb of God, is in the Eastern Church the Easter meat of choice.
Less Orthodox, and also far more diverse since the Protestant Reformation, Western Christianity long ago stopped serving up Rome on a plate – as much as we’d be totally happy with a huge plate of cacao e pepe. Lamb does turn up in Western European and even some American tables, but not very often.
Many families enjoy a nice baked ham for Easter dinner. And some even decide it’s been long enough sinceThanksgiving and Christmas to roast yet another Turkey. When all fails to please the gathering cloud, some version of Sunday roast beef just might be in order. After all, lots of people at your Easter dinner are probably full from all the candy anyway.
Our main advice for Easter cookery is the same we give for Thanksgiving and Christmas – that is, count on us and our 170-plus jams, jellies, and sauces to give even old favorites an exciting new lease on life. Just because foods like Brussels sprouts, fruit cocktail, and even beef ribeye can be beloved around your house without ever being boring. And if you achieve an exciting revelation with flavors at your own Eastern table, we believe it’s nothing left than this special holiday deserves.
BRUSSELS SPROUT & WALNUT SALAD WITH CHAMPAGNE HONEY MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
2 cups Brussels sprouts (about 15)
4 cups fresh kale or mixed greens of your choice
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
For the dressing:
1/2 cup avocado oil or olive oil
4 tbsp Fischer & Wieser’s Champagne Honey Mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt + more to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Begin by cutting your sprouts in quarters, and removing the bottom stem. Place in shallow pan and sauté in oil until tender. In a large bowl toss in mixed green, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, and nuts. To make the dressing, place the ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Whisk or shake until completely incorporated. Toss 1/2 cup of the dressing on the salad. You can use the entire jar, or reserve some for a later use. Adjust the dressing to your taste! Season with additional salt and pepper.
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