It’s time to break out the bubbly for your COVID-19 bubble and host an easy, elegant Easter brunch.
I’ve built this holiday menu around Chef Rod Butters’ flavour-packed Italian Sausage and Goat Cheese Frittata. Delicious at room temperature, it can be pulled out of the oven an hour or more before serving or even made a day ahead and re-warmed for 10 or 15 minutes at 200 F.
Jeanne Kelley’s jewel-like citrus and pomegranate salad is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate, and it, too, can be finished several hours ahead.
End your Easter meal with coffee and the Wickaninnish Inn’s rich, chocolate-smeared granola bars, which will keep, refrigerated, in an airtight container for several weeks.
Be sure to press the oat mixture firmly into the pan or the bars are likely to crumble. Here’s a neat trick: Place a layer of wax paper or plastic wrap over the bars and press down on them with baking sheet on which you toasted the oats. (Adapted from The Wickaninnish Cookbook: Rustic Elegance on Nature’s Edge, by Joanne Sasvari, Appetite by Random House, 2018.)
4 cups (1 L) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (250 mL) sliced almonds
2/3 cup (150 mL) unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup (50 mL) wheat germ
1/3 cup (75 mL) flaxseed (optional)
1 cup (250 mL) water plus 2 tbsp (25 mL) honey
1/3 cup (75 mL) brown sugar
1 cup (250 mL) pitted and chopped dates
1 cup (250 mL) water
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) dried cranberries or raisins
6 oz (170 g) milk or dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 300 F. Line a rimmed 13-by-18-inch baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, leaving an overhang of several inches on each short end. Set aside.
Toss oats with almonds, sunflower seeds and wheat germ, and spread evenly on a second rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven and toast until fragrant and lightly golden, 30 to 45 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, and transfer to a large bowl.
In a saucepan, bring honey, brown sugar, dates and 1 cup of water to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes, until the dates soften and begin to fall apart.
Pour hot mixture over dry ingredients. Add raisins and mix well with a rubber spatula. Scrape mixture onto prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer. Set aside to cool.
Use overhanging foil to lift cooled bars from pan and cut into desired size. Melt chocolate in a double boiler, spread on bars and place on a rack to set.
Makes 24 to 30 bars.
Grapefruit Orange Salad with Pomegranate and Fresh Mint
If available, the flower water adds an exotic touch. Look for it in Middle Eastern markets.
2 ruby grapefruit
1 tbsp (15 mL) honey
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) orange-flower water (optional)
¼ cup (50 mL) pomegranate seeds
2 tbsp (25 mL) mint leaves
Using a small, serrated knife, cut the peel and white pith from the grapefruit and oranges. Cut in between the membranes to release the segments. Transfer segments to a platter.
Drizzle citrus with honey and sprinkle with orange-flower water. Squeeze juice from the citrus membranes over segments. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and scatter with mint. Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 4 hours.
Serves 4 to 6.
Italian Sausage and Goat Cheese Frittata
Feel free to change up the sausage and cheese choices. If you don’t adore goat cheese, use feta. (Adapted from The Okanagan Table: The Art of Everyday Home Cooking, by Rod Butters with Kerry Gold.)
4 tbsp (50 mL) olive oil (divided), plus extra for greasing
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
3 chorizo or fresh Italian sausages, casings removed and meat crumbled
1/3 cup (75 mL) sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped basil
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped parsley
4 oz (125 g) chèvre (fresh goat cheese), crumbled
2 oz (25 mL) bag plain potato chips, coarsely crushed
6 eggs, well beaten
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet and sauté onion over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
In the same skillet use another tablespoon of oil to sauté zucchini over medium heat until barely tender, 3 or 4 minutes. Season and add to onions.
In the same skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat, and cook sausage until browned, crumbled and cooked through. Set aside.
Grease a 12-inch round ovenproof pan. Arrange zucchini and onion in an even layer on the bottom. Scatter on sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley and chèvre. Sprinkle potato chips on top. Slowly and evenly pour eggs into pan.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until egg has set and frittata has pulled away from pan edges. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Invert onto serving platter and cut into wedges.
Serves 4 to 6.
Kitchen Hack: Easier Chocolate Chopping
Place the bar of chocolate on a cutting board and press straight down on it with the sharp two-tined fork from your meat-slicing set. It will break neatly into pieces with less effort than if you chop it with a knife.