What to Cook for Easter Brunch and Dinner

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[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

This Easter, when you gather your family to admire your latest Peepshi creation, we want to make sure you feed 'em well, too. Whether you're hosting a post-church midday meal or a celebratory spring-evening feast, you'll find all the menu ideas and recipes you need below.

Eggs and Ham for Easter Brunch

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[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

Deviled eggs are on the retro side as appetizers go, but we still love them, especially when the toppings get a little creative. Try garnishing them with smoked salmon and an everything-bagel-inspired mix of sesame, caraway, and dried onion, or give them a sprinkle of spicy chilies and savory, crispy fried shallots. We love deviled eggs with shrimp and with fried capers, too. A platter of carbonara-style deviled eggs with pancetta and black pepper? Yes, please.

Deviled eggs not your thing? It's easier than you may think to poach eggs for a party, and even easier to make these elegant eggs baked in ramekins.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

But let's get to the main event. If preparing an Easter ham has you nervous, you'll want to start by reading The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Buying and Cooking Hams. Wondering if you should get a country ham or a city ham? Not sure if it should be cut or not, bone-in or boneless? Worried about the glazing process? Kenji's got you covered.

As far as recipes go, you've got your choice between Maple-Glazed City Ham and Cherry Coke–Glazed Country Ham, plus options for super-easy, gently heated sous vide ham and even roasting ham on the grill.

If you'd rather skip ham and serve bacon instead, you'll want to try our oven-based approach to making bacon for a crowd, any way you like it. If you love chewy, moist strips, you'll cook your bacon on aluminum foil crimped up like an accordion. Prefer it as crisp as can be? Cook it flat on a foil-lined pan until it's nice and brown.

Whether you choose ham or bacon, the biscuits you serve on the side might just steal the spotlight. Kenji's super-flaky buttermilk biscuits get their tender, layered texture through a few key moves, including cutting the butter into the flour rapidly with the help of a food processor, so that it doesn't have time to smear. Then you'll fold the dough over itself a few times, creating the kind of lamination you might expect in croissants.

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The freshest English muffins you'll ever eat. [Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

Want to fill out the bread basket with something a little more unexpected? A fresh batch of Stella's stellar homemade English muffins is the way to go. They've got a crisp crust and a delightfully soft and chewy interior, perfect for topping with butter and jam or a slice of ham.

For those sweet-toothed relatives who might not have had a chance to eat fluffy Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday, you can prep our vanilla-laced version in advance and bake them up fresh. They're flavored with coriander, allspice, and nutmeg, so they'll leave your kitchen smelling amazing, too.

An Easter Lamb Dinner

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[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

So, you're having family over for Easter dinner, and you've decided to serve a big ol' lamb roast. Before you get started, it's worth considering your options.

These cuts of lamb can take quite a while to cook, and by the time the center is properly warmed, the exterior can be overdone. This is where sous vide comes in. If you have a sous vide circulator, you can cook your lamb until it's rosy pink and juicy all the way through, and the outside literally cannot exceed your desired medium-rare temp. To boost the flavor, try a boneless leg of lamb stuffed with briny black olives, or this version with mint chimichurri and toasted mustard seeds. The flexibility in timing that sous vide affords comes in extra handy when you're entertaining: It's fine to leave the meat in the sous vide bath while you wait for all your guests to arrive (or finish that first bottle of wine).

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[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

If you're making lamb in the oven instead, we recommend taking a lesson from sous vide, starting the roast out nice and slow to avoid overcooking the exterior, then finishing up hot for the last few moments. Here's how to do it with a couscous-stuffed crown roast of lamb, plus the best method for a traditional slow-roasted leg. Need guidance on shopping for or carving your lamb? Check out The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Leg of Lamb here.

Your sides are an opportunity to celebrate the first signs of spring: Think silky, tender Braised Asparagus or lightly charred Sautéed Asparagus topped with Caraway-Yogurt Sauce or Tarragon and Lemon Aioli. If peas have started appearing in markets near you, you can also add this Snap Pea Salad, which drapes the crisp, sweet peas in a creamy and minty dressing.

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[Photograph: Nila Jones]

Wrap it all up with a light dessert, like these adorable Meringue Nests With Orange Curd Cream and Easter Eggs, or, you know, the entire contents of your Easter basket. Still not satisfied? Try one of these 12 bright, spring-appropriate sweets to finish off your Easter meal.