Easter comes just as farmers' markets are crowded with new asparagus, fresh-dug carrots, and the first foraged wild mushrooms. These flavors usher in the new season, and they're the inspiration for our simple, elegant holiday feast.
2 of 16Rob Brodman
Easy Hot Cross Buns
Despite the old rhyme, hot cross buns are no longer one a penny, but a quick shortcut makes them an Easter tradition well worth reviving.
3 of 16Photo by Iain Bagwell; written by Margo True
Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Spring Vegetables
Hours of cooking on very low heat makes this lamb fall-off-the-bone tender, and a blast of high heat at the end crisps the surface. All you need to round out the dinner are mashed potatoes and a salad.
5 of 16Photo by Iain Bagwell; written by Margo True
Roast Leg of Lamb with Almond-Mint Pesto
Mint jelly is traditional with lamb, but not everyone loves its cloying sweetness or garish color. This fresh mint pesto takes a more savory direction, and is rolled up in the lamb to flavor it as it roasts.
This Portuguese-inspired menu bursts with the spring flavors of fresh vegetables and tender lamb, embellished very simply with garlic, herbs, and olive oil.
7 of 16James Carrier
Two-Step Rack of Lamb
Marinating the racks before and after browning infuses them with extra flavor; it also minimizes last-minute cooking ― the racks can stand for up to 4 hours, ready to be finished quickly in a hot oven.
10 of 16Photo by Iain Bagwell; written by Margo True
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon
Crisp-tipped, juicy, and tender, these spears are great with lamb or fish. Opt for fat asparagus—the spears will be tender but not mushy when the tips are crisp. Lemon zest, versus juice, gives a lot of flavor without too much acidity or moisture.
11 of 16Photo by Victor Protasio; food styled by Margaret Dickey; props styled by Audrey Davis
Butter Lettuce and Egg Salad
If you don’t have blooming herbs for this salad—like the fennel flowers and blue borage blossoms we harvested from the Sunset test garden—buy edible flowers like Johnny-jump-ups or nasturtiums at well-stocked grocery stores. Or just skip them; the salad will still look and taste lovely.