It's almost Easter, and that means Ina Garten is getting ready for a big dinner party. Truly, Ina is always ready for a big dinner party to celebrate any day that ends in "y," and I'm pretty sure she throws a Champagne welcome luncheon every time the mailman shows up, but she really brings it out for the holidays.
"My favorite Easter dinner is happily also my easiest dinner!" she explained in her newsletter. "For my Baked Virginia Ham, all you do is buy a spiral-cut smoked ham, make a glaze with garlic, chutney, mustard, brown sugar, and orange juice, pour it all over the ham, and bake it for an hour. Easiest Easter dinner ever!! Which leaves me plenty of time to make my decadent Carrot Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting for dessert!!"
Ina likes to go very traditional with holiday menus, so for Easter she brings out a gorgeous ham with a sticky, golden caramel crust made of garlic, chutney, mustard, brown sugar, and orange juice. She's not kidding about it being her easiest recipe, either. Her recipe starts with a fully cooked smoked ham, so there's genuinely no way to mess this one up.
Because the ham is so easy, Ina brings her A-game on the side dishes. She prepares a fennel gratin with Parmesan and seasoned breadcrumbs. Fennel gratin is one of those dishes that is very hard to make look good, but it's rich, decadent, and outrageously delicious.
She also makes peas with pancetta, and she even starts with frozen peas. (Ina likes Bird's Eye garden peas.) She cooks them with a sliced shallot, pancetta, and her famous "good olive oil," and in an interesting twist she even adds julienned mint leaves at the end. That's going to be really great for spring!
It's Easter, so of course we have to end with carrot cake. And any proper carrot cake must involve both chopped walnuts and cream cheese frosting. Ina, of course, delivers. Her carrot cake is full of walnuts and topped with a rich ginger and mascarpone frosting. She even tops her carrot cake with crystallized ginger!
Ina's spread sounds amazing. Now the only question is what kind of cocktail is she going to serve with it?
What do you think of Ina's Easter menu?