Tulips, colorful dresses, Easter egg hunts… snow… spring on the North Shore is seldom without surprises. Despite the recent storm – and Easter’s early arrival this weekend, area chefs are rolling out lavish spring menus in celebration of Easter. Think Lobster and Steak Benedict, Wood Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb or a French Toast Skillet with smoked hazelnuts.
Whether celebrating Easter or not, everyone loves an indulgent brunch. We may be donning our Easter bonnets with snow boots, but we’re stepping out to eat. Here are three picks for a fantastic brunch experience.
Cozy: 15 Walnut, South Hamilton
For a casual vibe, book a table at this neighborhood hang out, which serves up a roster of elevated comfort food. No green eggs, but plenty of other ham dishes, from the “Ham I Am,” a sandwich of cherry peperonata, shaved ham, five-year cheddar, house mustard (recipe below), and pickled pineapple ($16) to a dish of creamy polenta from Alprilla Farm in Essex, topped with poached egg, and house ham ($15). Or go vegetarian with trendy Shakshuka a Middle Eastern dish of eggs baked in spiced tomato sauce ($14). Seeking sweets? Try the French Toast Skillet, topped with smoked hazelnuts, house creme fraiche, and real maple syrup, of course ($15).
Creative: Ceia Kitchen + Bar, Newburyport
Chef Jeremy Glover is well known for innovative riffs on classic cuisine, and his Easter brunch menu is no different. Like an elevated eggs Benedict, served on a biscuit and topped with Maine lobster and hanger steak ($23) or a shrimp tartine-a poached egg atop a gently seared shrimp on sourdough bread ($16, recipe below). Glover’s spin on French toast uses the restaurant’s house made Portuguese sweet bread and tops it with a springy mix of rhubarb and strawberries ($15). Heartier Easter specials include a Spiced Lamb Shoulder served with peas and spring herbs ($26) and Faroe Island Salmon served with nettle puree ($21).
Easter Brunch served from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Reservations recommended. 38 State St., Newburyport, 978/358.8112, ceiakitchenbar.com
Classic: Tuscan Kitchen, Salem, N.H., and Burlington
Italians know how to celebrate Easter – with generous portions of pasta and grilled meats. And the Easter Brunch at Tuscan Kitchen’s two locations offer that in spades. Starters include a salad of fresh strawberries and aged Balsamico ($12), and the pasta course includes Duck Ravioli with mushroom sauce and truffled cabbage ($23). Mains offer choices like Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb with saffron aioli ($44) or Herb Roasted Ham with a mascarpone potato cake ($21). Bunnies will love the Carrot Cake for dessert, served with vanilla anglaise ($8). Buona Pasqua indeed.
Brunch served from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Reservations recommended. 2400 District Ave Burlington, Ma 01803 781.229.0300 and 67 Main Street, Salem, NH 03079
15 Walnut House Mustard
Impress your own guests with homemade mustard. It’s perfect to serve with ham on Easter Sunday or on sandwiches with leftovers.
2 oz. yellow mustard seeds
2 oz. brown mustard seeds
4 oz. yellow mustard powder
½ cup dark beer*
3 teaspoons vinegar of choice
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Grind the whole seeds (you can use a spice grinder, blender or mortar).
Combine mustard powder with ground seeds.
Add beer to mustard mix, and allow to sit for five minutes.
Add vinegar, salt and sugar.
Thin with water until you achieve the desired consistency (you’ll likely want thicker mustard to serve with ham).
Refrigerate overnight before serving.
*substitute wine, port or water to make the recipe gluten-free.
Ceia Kitchen + Bar Shrimp Tartine
Chef Jeremy Glover’s fresh dish is perfect for brunch or a springtime lunch.
1 Egg, Poached (recipe below)
I Garlic Clove (Roasted, recipe below)
¼ c. English Peas
3 Shrimp (U-16, roughly the size of a half dollar)
1/4 c. White Wine
1 Pinch of Salt
1 Shallot, Thinly Sliced
1 Slice of Bread, Sourdough is suggested
1 Tbs. of Sunflower Oil
2 Tbs. of Butter
- First butterfly the shrimp. Once shrimp is cut, season with salt.
- Heat your pan to medium. Once pan is warm add your sunflower seed oil, bring that to temperature, and add your shrimp. Sear shrimp for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
- Once you sear one side of shrimp you will next add your sliced shallots. Season this mixture with a pinch of salt – this technique pulls the liquid from the shallots causing them to sweat rather than sear.
- Deglaze the pan by pouring white wine over mixture.
- Wait for mixture to reduce, at which point you will add your butter, garlic, and peas. Remove pan from heat and stir until butter is fully melted.
- Slice your sourdough or bread to about to about ½ inch. You then want to butter and give it a slight sear by placing it in a hot pan for about 30 seconds on each side.
- Spoon shrimp mixture onto toasted sourdough and top with poached egg.
- Place a head of garlic in a tin foil pouch.
- Season with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of sunflower seed oil.
- Allow to roast for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Peel and smash.
- In a pan bring 4 cups of water to a rapid simmer. You should be able to see movement in the water without it boiling.
- Add a small dash of vinegar to water.
- Crack egg into a separate small bowl. Once water is ready slowly tip the egg into the water. Leave to cook for about 3 minutes
- Remove with a slotted spoon.
- Drain onto kitchen paper to remove excess water.