It’s the day after Easter, and that means one thing: all those Easter leftovers. What to do with, to, or at them?
Rather than limit ourselves to one or two obvious recipes, we decided to provide a series of “flavor profiles” from which readers can choose, to fine-tune the preparation of the dish of their preference in the recipe selection from the choice of their choice of the food being prepared.
But first, what do we mean by “Easter leftovers”?
Just as Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and His role in the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so Easter is—in America, at least—celebrated with a traditional “trinity” of dishes: a rabbit, eggs, and chocolate.
At first this trio may seem counterintuitive. After all, rabbits don’t lay eggs, eggs don’t create chocolate, and chocolate doesn’t bring us rabbits. But traditional dishes served in the celebration of religious holidays has never made literal sense. For example, the Jews celebrate Passover—the flight from Egypt into the desert—with gefilte fish, chicken soup, and brisket. Just how many gefilte fish do you think they found in the desert? How many chickens? How many briskets?
Hardly any, obviously. That is why it’s best to think of holiday dishes as metaphors, and not actual illustrations of what may have been served on the occasion being commemorated.
To that end, here are five varieties of approaches for making good use of all those rabbits, eggs, and chocolate. Feel free to add or subtract or multiply or divide ingredients to bring your own personal “spin” to the dish.
Cook the rabbit in a blend of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and oregano. If the eggs are raw, hard-boil them and garnish them with black olives. Present the chocolate for dessert.
Eat the chocolate first, since there’s no chocolate in Chinese cooking. Heat a wok or an unused Direct TV antenna dish until unbelievably hot. Then chop the rabbit into bite-size pieces and stir-fry it along with minced garlic, ginger, and scallions (white portion only). Add a chopped red pepper and, if you want to go crazy, some celery. For Hunan, throw in a handful of peanuts or something. For Szechuan, add a teaspoon of pungent, numbing, weird Szechuan peppercorns. If the eggs are hard-boiled, reserve for another use. If raw, lightly scramble two and slowly pour them over all, hoping for the best.
If the eggs are raw, scramble them and dip the rabbit and chocolate into the result, then cook in a surprisingly modest amount of butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. If the eggs are hard-boiled, scramble two raw eggs and dip everything—including the hard-boiled eggs–into the egg mixture, and cook as noted.
Make a sofrito with the chocolate and the eggs. Season the rabbit with ancho chile powder (not chili powder) and a pinch of ground coriander. Just a pinch, or you’ll ruin it. Cook the rabbit in the result. Garnish with cilantro and sliced radishes. If you happen to be one of those people who can’t stand cilantro, tough.
Cajun cooking has its own “holy trinity,” consisting of onions, celery, and green peppers. So chop up a bunch of those, season the result with salt, black pepper, sweet paprika, celery, sugar, garlic, onion, oregano, cayenne, caraway, dill, turmeric, cumin, basil, bay leaf, mace, cardamom, marjoram, rosemary, and thyme. Add the rabbit, eggs, and chocolate and cook until fragrant.