• STIR IT UP: Easter inspirations
    By
     | March 30,2012
     
    Beall & Thomas Photo

    Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Cheese Omelet makes a great centerpiece of a festive Easter brunch.

    Each holiday has its prime time. Christmas shines in the evening, when the tree is lit and family and friends are gathered to share eggnog and cocoa. Thanksgiving’s draw is a midday feast.

    But Easter is all about the morning: sunrise services, egg hunts and the “awakening” feeling of spring. While it may be traditional to have a large Easter dinner, on this holiday you can easily argue that brunch is the way to go.

    Easter brunch can be a dressed-up affair (mimosas in the garden, spring hats, the pointy heels of women’s shoes sinking into the spongy earth) or a family-friendly gathering (jelly beans on the tablecloth, crayoned place cards at each setting, Easter basket “grass” everywhere). Whichever route you take, the culinary imperatives are the same: good food and lots of it. Your guests will have had busy mornings and no breakfast; you’ll be amazed at how much food they can tuck away.

    This does not mean you must exhaust yourself. Plenty of items can be purchased ready-made: juices, breads and high-quality chocolates, perfect for dessert. Fruit and green salads are easily put together. Throw a ham (the easiest of meats) in the oven and serve it as a side instead of bacon or sausage. This relieves you of the “short-order breakfast cook” feeling. It just leaves you and the eggs.

    Inspiration for a delicious Easter brunch arrived in the form of a cookbook from the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain, “Simply Fresh: Casual Dining at Home” (Andrews McMeel, 2011), by veteran cookbook author Jeff Morgan. The omelets make a perfect main course and need only a little prep. While they are cooking, you can join your guests in sipping mimosas or trying to pull Easter grass out of your hair.



    Spinach, mushroom and feta cheese omelet

    Yield: 4 to 6 servings

    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

    2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

    pound crimini or button mushrooms, sliced

    pound fresh baby spinach

    8 eggs

    cup crumbled feta cheese

    2 teaspoons dried thyme

    Freshly ground black pepper

    In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add garlic and cook, stirring, about 1 minute, or until garlic begins to brown. Add mushrooms and stir to coat with oil and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms soften. Uncover the pan and push mushrooms to the side.

    Increase heat to medium-high and add spinach. (It will pretty much fill the pan but will soon reduce significantly.) Re-cover the pan and cook about 2 minutes, or until spinach wilts.

    Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat eggs with a whisk or fork until blended.

    Mix wilted spinach with mushrooms and push both to the side of the pan. Decrease heat to low. Pour eggs into the pan and spread spinach mixture evenly throughout the eggs. Sprinkle cheese evenly across the surface. Sprinkle thyme over the cheese.

    Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes, until the eggs are firm on top. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your pan. In a large pan the eggs will cook faster, because the omelet will be thinner.

    Remove pan from heat and cut omelet into 4 or 6 pieces. Top with a few grinds of pepper and serve.

    Recipe from “Ruby Tuesday Simply Fresh: Casual Dining at Home” by Jeff Morgan (Andrews McMeel, 2011)



    Apple and cheese omelet

    Yield: 4 to 6 servings

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    1 apple, halved, cored and sliced

    8 eggs

    pound Gruyere or Swiss cheese, grated

    1 teaspoon dried thyme



    In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium. Add apple slices and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes, or until apples start to soften. Using a spatula, flip the slices and cook another minute or two, until they are soft and just beginning to brown.

    Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat eggs with a whisk or fork until blended.

    Push cooked apple slices to the side of the pan and decrease heat to low. Pour eggs into the pan and spread apples evenly throughout the eggs. Distribute cheese evenly over the surface. Sprinkle thyme evenly over the cheese.

    Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes, until eggs are firm on top. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your pan. In a large pan eggs will cook faster, because the omelet will be thinner.

    Remove pan from heat and cut the omelet into 4 or 6 pieces.

    Recipe from “Ruby Tuesday Simply Fresh: Casual Dining at Home” by Jeff Morgan (Andrews McMeel, 2011)



    Marialisa Calta is a syndicated food writer living in Calais.

    MORE IN Food & Dining
    These earthy, hearty turnovers work equally well as a fall gathering appetizer and an easy... Full Story
    Savory turnovers can save you time for dinner
    Apples and sausage and sweet potatoes, all baked up together. Full Story
    All the flavors of fall in one twice-baked package
    In your imagination, you might be slow-roasting a succulent chicken in a wood-fired oven in a... Full Story
    Stir It Up: Super-fast weeknight cooking
    More Articles
  •  
     
    • MEDIA GALLERY 
    • VIDEOS
    • PHOTOS