Two Delicious Sides for Easter Dinner
No Easter dinner is complete without Grandma’s favorite country ham. But, you can still play with the side dishes! Potato Gruyere Gratin provides the old fashioned creamy elegance while Freshly Grilled Spicy Lemon Asparagus adds a bit of deliciously modern flair! Enjoy.
Easter is the perfect time to serve the comforting creamy goodness of Potato Gruyere Gratin. Warm the sauce, assemble the casserole, and then let it cook while you catch up on all the latest family news. Simply irresistible for young and old alike, this recipe will become a welcome addition to your home-style cooking repertoire.
- 1/2 cup onion, minced
- 2 Tbsp plus 1 t butter
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp ground garlic
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 3-4 dashes Tabasco
- 8 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded, divided use
- 8 medium red potatoes, (about 3 lbs, or four cups sliced)
- Grate or shred the cheese and place in a bowl. Mince onions.
- Melt 2 tablespoon butter in the sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté about 8 minutes. The onions should be tender but not browned.
- In the same saucepan, add the milk, cream, garlic, thyme, black pepper, and about 1/2 cup cheese. Reduce heat to low and stir constantly until the cheese is melting. Do not boil, just get it hot. Remove from heat and set aside while you prep the potatoes.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Rub 1 teaspoon butter over the inside of a 2 quart casserole dish and set aside.
- Do not peel the potatoes. Rinse them well and slice off any roots or icky parts. Cut in half, it does not matter which direction. Place each potato half on a cutting board with the cut side down and thinly slice (1/4 inch in thickness is just fine). When cut in this half-moon way, each slice has a bit of peel.
- Fan out half of the potatoes in the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese. Pour about half of the cream and cheese mixture over the potatoes. Add the rest of the potatoes in a second layer. Pour on the rest of the cream and top with the rest of the cheese.
- Take care not to overfill your casserole dish or the sauce will bubble over and create a lovely mess. Fill only to about the halfway mark or so. If you used more potatoes then called for, just add a splash of cream to get the liquid up to the right point.
- Cover with a lid and bake for an hour and 15 minutes - or until the potatoes are tender and deliciously browned bits form on the sides and top. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender. The length of cookery time may vary a little depending on how thickly you slice your potatoes.
- Remove from the oven and let it rest, with the lid on, for 10 minutes. Set the gratin on the table and watch it disappear.
Freshly Grilled Spicy Lemon Asparagus completes an Easter meal to perfection. Delicately blended with the freshness of lemons and the earthy flavors of spicy brown mustard and garlic, this healthy dish goes from grill to table in 10 minutes or less.
- 1 pound asparagus, washed and well drained, trim off the woody ends
- 1 tsp lemon zest, from one fresh lemon
- 6 cloves garlic, pressed or very finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp mustard, preferably spicy brown
- 1 Tbsp plus 1 t lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Prepare the grill for the asparagus.
- Make the marinade by mixing the lemon zest, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil. The marinade will be slightly thick. If you love lemon, you may double the zest.
- Place the marinade and asparagus in a zip lock bag or tightly covered bowl. Turn or toss to coat each spear. Set on the counter for 30 minutes.
- Remove the spears from the bag, shake off the excess marinade, and arrange on the grill. Discard remaining marinade.
- As you grill, turn the asparagus regularly to prevent excessive charring. Cooking time will be 5-10 minutes, depending on your grill.
- Remove when the asparagus is browned, not burnt, and fork tender. Serve immediately.
This recipe works just as beautifully on an electric or gas grill. It will cook more quickly on counter top electric grills that heat on both sides at once. The spears may be grilled individually, or in groups stuck together with skewers. If you use wooden skewers, soak them in water first. Turn the recipe into a main vegetarian meal by slicing the grilled asparagus into 2 inch pieces and toss with hot orzo and a little feta cheese.