Whether it’s Easter or plain old wonderful spring you’re fêteing, there’s plenty to celebrate this time of year — not least of which are the return of green to the Greenmarket and the wide availability of excellent chocolate.
If ham or lamb will be making an appearance on your table, you may have already heard of D’Artagnan, a gourmet meat supplier in Newark, New Jersey. We asked D’Artagnan’s founder, Ariane Daguin, about her Easter plans. Take note of her tips, think about trying D’Artagnan’s recipe for cornmeal crusted lamb loin and then check our chocolate recommendations listed below!
Edible Manhattan: What are some of your tips for shopping locally for Easter? Any favorite NYC producers that you’ll be buying from as you shop for the holiday?
Ariane Daguin: I always go to Jacques Torres store to buy the biggest chocolate egg that can fit through my door!
EM: How will you be celebrating this year? What will you be making? What kind of meat will you be serving?
AD: This year, I will roast a leg of lamb studded with garlic. It will be simple, served just with crumbled merguez added in during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Using the two forms of lamb together make for a more nuanced and flavorful dish. Last year, I made a honey soy-glazed heritage ham to serve for all my guests.
EM: Pulling together an Easter brunch the morning-of can be tricky timing-wise. Any tips for prepping the night (and the days) before?
AD: A tip for preparing in advance would be to hard-cook your eggs the night before. For instance, I like to make hard-cooked quail eggs in advance and use an easy trick to peel them. After soaking the eggs in a cold water bath (or the next day, after the kids have painted them [and] they’ve been hidden and found) put them in a colander, cover the colander with a plate or use a pan to cover them and then shake, shake, shake. The shell will then slide off very easily!
EM: Do you have any suggestions for flavoring the meat dishes?
AD: I suggest pricking the leg of the lamb with the knife point and inserting garlic. It is very important to note that you must slice the raw garlic clove with a maximum thickness of 1/8 of an inch, so it will actually be cooked when the lamb is done. I also like to use rosemary sometimes. My secret is rosemary, thyme and garlic with a good olive oil like D’Artagnan’s Reserve Jean Reno olive oil collection.
EM: How do you use your Easter leftovers?
AD: A lamb sandwich with harissa mayo is the perfect way to use Easter leftovers.
EM: Any other favorite Easter recipes?
AD: Ham with a half-honey-half-soy-sauce glaze as the contrast of sweet and salty beautifully complement the pork. Ratatouille is a great accompaniment for lamb, and because Easter is late this year, we are lucky and can be creative with the bounty of spring vegetables. Morels are a top choice if you have the budget!
EM: What would you fill an Easter basket with?
AD: Anything seasonal from Jacques Torres!
Jacques included, we suggest the following chocolate deals:
Papabubble New York: Who could resist a bag of these colorful handmade hard candies in their Easter basket? Their “Hop to It” Easter mix or springy “Flower” mix would be especially appropriate.
Jacques Torres: Mr. Chocolate has some fancy, fancy chocolate covered matzoh as well as some very sweet Easter- and spring-themed molded chocolates. We’re fond of the pig.
Mondel Chocolates: Stick a box of chocolates from this Morningside Heights hole-in-the-wall in someone’s Easter basket. The molded chocolates are classic; the chocolate-covered molasses chips are something else.
Photo credit: Facebook / Jacques Torres Chocolate