Keeping the Feast on Easter


Jeanne Scarpato photos

This year, we’ll celebrate Easter with Mass in the morning at St. Mary of the Lake Church in Lakewood, then take a drive around the lake before heading home to prepare the part of the feast that is traditionally ours: spiral ham and fresh Jersey asparagus with chopped, hard boiled eggs.

It’s a marvelous part of the tradition that we are joined in this feast with family and very good friends and we’re looking forward to sitting down with them in the porch that we’ve turned into a festive dining room complete with lace curtains, mom’s china closet and table and such family mementos as the treasured plate an uncle brought back from Jerusalem.

Outside, hopefully in a warm, spring breeze, our Easter flag, displaying a Cross and the legend — He is Risen, will be fluttering.

Everyone looks forward to the gathering and…the ham! This year, I’m cooking a spiral ham with an easy pomegranate glaze. You’ll find that recipe below along with the asparagus recipe which, in another variation, has appeared previously in Keeping the Feast.

Be sure to check out Jeanne Scarpato’s wonderful recipes for polenta and Easter bread.

Pomegranate Glaze for Ham

Ingredients:
– 1 cup pomegranate juice
– 1/2 cup corn syrup
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– 2 tablespoons cornstarch
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– dash red pepper.

Directions:
Remove and discard the glaze packet that may have come with your ham. Prepare the ham according to package directions. While the ham is baking, mix the juice, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon and red pepper in a medium sauce pan until well blended. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. During the last 30 minutes of baking, brush occasionally with 1/4 cup of the glaze. Serve the rest with the ham.

Aunt Lo’s Asparagus

Ingredients:
– 2 bunches of fresh asparagus with the tough ends cut off
– 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
– 1 small shallot, finely chopped
– 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
– 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
– 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 2 large hard-boiled eggs
– salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:
In a large, deep skillet, add enough salted water to cover; bring to a boil and add the asparagus and cook until crisp — about 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry. In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients except the chopped eggs. Arrange the asparagus on a generous platter and then drizzle with the dressing and top with the chopped eggs.

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