Eggs just the thing for Easter feasting

Eggs have long been a symbol of new life. It is fitting, then, that they are on spring menus and play a significant role during the Easter celebrations both as decorated eggs and egg dishes in the Easter brunch. The egg in all its glory is featured here – nutritious, delicious and easy to prepare any number of ways, but in at least three delectable recipes described in detail below.

Scotch Eggs

These never fail to please. Originally, Scotch eggs were deep-fat fried but this simple version bakes them in the oven.  Once baked and cooled, they are sliced lengthwise and arranged on a serving platter served yolk side up accompanied by a bowl of Dijon mustard, ideal for a buffet luncheon or brunch.

6 eggs, hard-cooked
1 lb (500 g) sausage meat, such as Schneider’s skinless sausages, defrosted
1 cup (250 mL) fresh bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cover eggs with cold water one inch (2.5 cm) over eggs. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Drain. Rinse eggs in cold water and shell; rinse to remove any remaining shell bits and pat dry with paper towel.

Divide defrosted sausage meat into six equal portions and place egg in center of each portion of sausage. Wrap evenly in sausage meat to completely cover egg. Roll in bread crumbs. Bake on prepared pan 30 to 35 minutes. Drain on paper towel. Slice in half and serve chilled. Makes 12 servings (half egg per person.)

Mushroom Pepper Frittata

A frittata is an Italian open-faced omelette which, for ease, is baked in the oven. Although this recipe calls for mushrooms and peppers, any variety of ingredients can be used: cooked potato, asparagus, zucchini, ham, smoked salmon and dill – to name just a smattering.

After baking, let frittata stand a few minutes before cutting into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature. Frittata is delicious served with a relish, an assortment of breads and a green salad.

Follow these tips for easy make-ahead method:

If you want to do most of the preparation the night before serving, cook the vegetable mixture; sprinkle the pie plate evenly with the bread crumbs and arrange sautéed vegetables over bread crumbs. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk or cream, herbs, salt and pepper. Cover the pie plate and bowl of egg mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the next morning.

The morning of your entertainment, preheat oven and pour prepared egg mixture over the vegetable cheese mixture in the pie plate; bake according to directions below; cool slightly and serve.

1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh bread crumbs (about 1 slice bread)
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
250 g mushrooms cleaned, sliced
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 cup (250 g) shredded old cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each, leaf thyme, tarragon and salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper
6 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray nine inch (23 cm) pie plate with baking spray. Sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, melt butter; add mushrooms, red pepper and sliced leeks, thyme and tarragon. Cook covered until vegetables are tender, about five minutes. Arrange vegetable mixture evenly over bread crumbs. Sprinkle cheddar evenly over top.

In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour egg-milk mixture over vegetables and bake, uncovered, 30 to 35 minutes, or until set. Let cool 10 minutes before slicing into wedges. Makes four to six servings.

Make-Ahead Orange Grand Marnier French Toast

You can assemble this dish the night before, ready to pop in the oven the next morning to serve piping hot to guests for brunch. Serve with the marmalade sauce if you wish, and a bowl of fresh sliced strawberries.

6 slices of 1 inch (2.5 cm) French bread
6 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) orange juice or milk
2 tbsp (25 mL) grated orange rind
2 tbsp (25 mL) granulated sugar
2 tbsp (25 mL) Grand Marnier or other orange flavoured liqueur Optional:
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon

Orange Marmalade Sauce
1/2  cup (125 mL) orange marmalade
1/2 cup (125 mL) orange juice
2 tbsp (25 mL) Grand Marnier or other orange flavoured liqueur (optional) or maple syrup

Spray a 13 by nine inch baking pan with baking spray. Arrange the bread in an even, single layer in baking dish. In mixing bowl, beat together eggs, milk, orange rind, sugar and Grand Marnier if using. Pour evenly over bread; sprinkle with cinnamon, cover and refrigerate. The next morning pre-heat oven to 350°F ( 180°C). Bake French toast 30 to 35 minutes uncovered until no longer soggy and firm to the touch. Meanwhile, in saucepan, heat orange marmalade, orange juice and Grand Marnier or maple syrup at medium-high, stirring until well combined. Bring sauce to boil and simmer about two minutes. Pour into jug to serve with French toast. Makes six servings.

 

Jan Main is an author, cooking instructor and caterer  –  janmainskitchen@yahoo.ca


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