Monday, May 21, 2018
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Tasty little nibbles for Easter dinner

Let's think small this Easter. Think main-course finger food.

You ditch the big, expensive piece of protein, the large casseroles, too, and still keep the largesse with a menu that serves eight generously and has all the components of a typical Easter meal. It just puts them on a different scale. Everything is downsized a bit, meant, except for dessert, to be eaten without utensils. Elegant and cute.

Lamb or ham? You don't have to choose; both are here yet neither bears the burden of anchoring the buffet. A rack of lamb, crusted with a bread crumb-parsley-garlic mixture is sliced into chops, each yielding three or four juicy bites, plenty for a single serving with all the other offerings. Ham and cheese fill small puff pastries. Partially cooked, still crunchy little vegetables have a mayonnaise-type dipping sauce called aioli (a-ō-lee). It's usually made with olive oil and raw garlic, but this is a more refined version using a mild oil and roasted cloves.

You have to have eggs at Easter, and for most people that means deviled eggs, hard cooked with a stuffing made from the mashed yolks. Bite-sized quail eggs are given the same treatment except the yolks aren't removed. Instead, yolks from regular eggs become a topping.

Dessert is a smooth lemon cream, somewhere between pudding and mousse, with fresh berries.

And what to do with all those jelly beans in the Easter basket? Toss a few into a flute of sparkling wine or water. They add color and flavor to the liquid.

It's a rich meal, but designed to satisfy rather than sate, a perfect celebration for the season of renewal.

Lennie Bennett can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8293.

   
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