Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Brunch, A Metaphor for Renewal

So Easter has come and gone. Easter has over my short adult awareness lifetime lost most of the clout it held as a holiday for us as Americans. I can chalk this up to various socializing and cultural factors as well as a decline in Christian Churches playing a healthy role in our societal fabric, without the Brew ha ha of many of today's Evangelical faiths and the polarizing effect they have had on the church as well as the way we view church and want to be associated or disassociated with it.

In any event the food heritage of this greatest of Christian holidays is much overlooked and forgotten as Christmastide takes over as the key holiday we celebrate and feast at. I mean Passover dinner will always be passover dinner. But Easter dinner has never been a meal which had a direct multi-international food connection in that each culture drew upon it's own traditions in finding a food with which to lift up the day. In the US this has centered around three main meats. Ham, Lamb, and Chicken or Duck, aka Poultry. It is a meal which celebrates the breaking of the chains of death by recognizing the breaking of winters grip on the world and celebrating the birth of a new spring season of foods.

Easter dinner is always a lighter meal than say Thanksgiving or Christmas with heavy laden dishes such as stuffing and candied sweet potatoes. It is a livelier meal and one generally celebrated after the traditional Church going time. Fresh green peas and ramps taking the places of root veggies and dried grains and roasting giving way to simmering and sautes. It is in essence a food metaphor for the change in the world both spiritual and physical. It is in short one of the great meals of the year.

So this year I contemplated how I would bring in the season.  What would I do to celebrate this day we remember renewal and rebirth. I thought long and hard about it and I decided to forego the big meal. I would instead prepare a simple brunch for me and mine. I decided to base in on the heritage of my Mother's family from Norway. And I would make it simple and easy. Smoked Salmon would be placed open faced on dark Euro rye with horseradish chive cream cheese and red onion and fresh dill leaves. Sardines would be served in the tin with fine cold french butter and toast points. Potatoes would be cut and baked with butter and jarlsberg to make hasselback potatoes. Cucumbers given a quick pickle in white vinegar and dill. And for the main dish Baked Eggs in Brioche with ramps and cream and gruyere cheese. A simple yet  complex meal bridging the flavors of the continent yet based in the idea that simple can be delicious. And it could all be made before church and the potatoes and eggs baked off while we sat contemplating the service and drinking mimosas!

While the other items definitely were Norwegian in origin the baked eggs needed a little something special so I decided to ramp them up ( no pun intended) with the spring onions and the swiss cheese. Everything came out well and I would recommend this as a go to egg dish from now on for company. It's impressive, very tasty, and its so easy it's crazy. Give it a try and Happy belated Easter everyone, here's to renewal and rebirth!! Enjoy Ya'll!!

Baked Eggs with Spring Onions and Gruyere in Brioche 
( This is so easy and so delicious!!!)
(Can be made ahead till the baking up to 1 hour before baking  and held in the fridge)


6 small Brioche rolls or Brioche unsliced hamburger buns or dinner rolls or your choice with the  very tippy tops cut off and insides carefully removed ( use a small paring knife and your fingers)
6 eggs
1/4 cup cream
6 spring onions or two leeks whites only sliced and sauted with butter till soft
1 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere divided into two 3/4 cups portions
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
Salt and pepper to taste


Place Rolls on greased baking sheet
Divide Onion or Leeks up between rolls
Divide one portion of the cheese and top the onions in each roll
Break an egg into each roll
sprinkle with a little thyme and S&P
Fill remaining cavities with the cream
Top with the remaining cheese and remaining thyme

Bake for 15 mins at 350 degrees till eggs are a little set and cheese is melty

Serve! Enjoy!

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