Serious Entertaining

Seasonal menu planning for the perfect dinner party.

Serious Entertaining: Easter In a Flash

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You think Easter and you think lamb, peas, spring vegetables, chocolate eggs, and ok, maybe bunnies. And while the Easter feast doesn't have quite the same reputation for being an all-day affair as, say, Thanksgiving or Christmas, the prospect of roasting a leg of lamb or glazing a ham is still a little intimidating.

Here are some ideas for a quick Easter dinner that comes together quickly, but is still dressed to impress.

Appetizer: Country Ham Biscuits

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[Photograph: Meredith Smith]

Glazed ham is a classic main course for Easter, and while our quick menu won't feature a whole glazed ham, you still get your ham fix with these supremely tender and crisp Country Ham Biscuits. If you can't get your hands on a good quality, thin-sliced country ham, you'll do just fine with some prosciutto or Spanish jamón serrano.

Salad: Spring Salad

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[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Nothing says spring like green vegetables, and this Spring Salad with Asparagus, Peas, and Snap Peas with a Poached Egg on top is about as green as it gets. The recipe calls for ramps, which if you're lucky enough to find at this time of year, are excellent when dragged through the egg yolk. But the salad will do just fine without them.

The best part? Once you've got your vegetables blanched and chilled and your vinaigrette made, the salad requires no work to serve. Just toss it all together, and top with your eggs. What's that? You didn't know that you can poach eggs in advance? Absolutely, you can! Just check out that link for a foolproof poaching method, along with directions for how to make them ahead.

Main Courses: Rosemary and Garlic Lamb Chops

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[Photograph: Marvin Gapultos

Here's the only part of the meal you'll have to do a la minute, though really, after its hour-long rest in a garlic and rosemary marinade the cooking time for these Garlic and Rosemary Lamb Chops is only a matter of moments. You finish off the sauce while the lamb rests. Serve them alongside the spring salad, or toss together a simple green salad to go with them.

Dessert: Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cake

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[Photograph: @sstiavetti]

And for dessert, we're at that magical time of year when fresh spring produce is finally starting to appear, but great citrus fruit is still available (and cheap, no less!). Celebrate the awesome lemony-orange flavor and mild tartness of Meyer lemons with this Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cake. Bake it the day before and serve it chilled for easy entertaining.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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