Easter has me straight up flummoxed this year, y'all. On the list of "things you don't have to think about until you have a kid, and then suddenly YOU JUST DO," holidays rank pretty high. When was the last time I even celebrated Easter? When I think back on all the previous Easters of my life, there are some dim memories of stiff and lacy Sunday dresses, straw hats, running in patent leather shoes, salty ham slices, Dixie cups of saccharine after-church lemonade that burned your throat with sweetness, plastic eggs. Jelly beans, of course. A frenzy of chocolate and gold foil and pastel plush animals that made Easter seem almost like....Spring Christmas? In a way that was always bewildering and somewhat overwhelming, though. Why are there presents? Who is this shady Easter Bunny character? What's in a marshmallow Peep, anyway? No one needs Spring Christmas. We're not churchgoing people, and I'd rather leave the orgy of candy and goodies out of the picture for Henry while he's still so young. So how, then, to celebrate Easter?
Then it hit me, a memory of crinkly green cellophane grass, nestled snugly around brightly colored eggs. Take the iconic image of an Easter basket.....and reimagine it as something delicious for the holiday table! Standing in for crinkly green plastic grass--tender young leaves of arugula, dressed lightly in a lemon chive vinaigrette (aka their Sunday best). Standing in for brightly colored plastic eggs--actual eggs naturally dyed a brilliant magenta in a pickled beet bath, split in half and filled with a perfectly creamy deviled egg filling. The rim of cheerful bright pink around the edge of each egg is basically the cutest thing ever to happen to a hardboiled egg, and there's something just delightfully retro-delicious about a deviled egg, anyhow. My Easter basket salad fantasy is perfect for a brunch spread, but it would be just as at home alongside a classic ham on the dinner table.
Maybe we've just started a new Easter tradition here, after all?
Deviled Pink Easter Eggs, aka Easter Basket Salad
Makes: 12 deviled eggs
- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 large (approx. fist-sized) beets, scrubbed and thinly sliced
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 6 eggs
- 2 tablespoons Lemon Chive Vinaigrette (recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons whole milk Greek yogurt
- Fresh chives, chopped
- Baby arugula
- Place vinegar, water, beets, salt & sugar in medium sized pot, bring to a boil then remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, pour into resealable bag or container, refrigerate.
- Place eggs in a large pot, cover with cold water, bring to a boil then remove from heat. Cover the pot and let sit for 10 minutes off the heat. Prepare an ice water bath for the eggs and crack each one gently all over the shell before dunking them in the cold water for two minutes. Remove and peel immediately, place peeled eggs in beet mixture and refrigerate for one hour.
- Make Lemon Chive Vinaigrette (recipe below). Remove eggs from fridge, slice in half and set cooked yolks aside in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons each of Lemon Chive Vinaigrette and Greek yogurt to the yolks, mash with a fork then whip until fluffy. Scoop yolk mixture into a pastry bag (or, even easier, a Ziploc with the corner snipped off) fitted with a star tip. Pipe yolk mixture back into each boiled egg half.
- To assemble salad, line a platter or shallow bowl with baby arugula, then drizzle with vinaigrette. Arrange deviled eggs in a pretty circle around the outside of the bowl, then sprinkle lightly with chopped chives and serve!
Lemon Chive Vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chives
Salt & pepper
Place lemon juice, honey and mustard in a bowl, whisk to combine, then whisk in olive oil until dressing thickens. Add chives, plus salt & pepper to taste.