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3 Fresh Takes on Easter Dinner

April 16, 2014

Choose from a showstopping lineup of main-dish recipes to star as the centerpiece of your spring feast.

Related: 14 New, Lighter Comfort Food Ideas

Glazed Ham with Horseradish Cream

A spicy-sweet glaze of honey, fresh horseradish, and allspice helps burnish and crisp the skin of this sumptuous bone-in ham.

1 smoked ham (10 to 14 pounds), bone in and rind on
2/3 cup lightly packed grated fresh horseradish (from a 6-inch piece of peeled horseradish root), divided
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup creme fraiche
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Rinse and dry ham and wrap first in parchment, then in foil, making sure thicker rind faces up. Place on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan and bake 1 1/2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, stir together 1/3 cup horseradish, honey, allspice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Remove ham from oven and unwrap. When cool enough to handle, peel rind from ham with a paring knife, trimming fat all over to about 1/2 inch. (It doesn’t need to be perfectly even; the bottom will have less fat and more skin.) Pat dry. With the tip of the knife, score the skin with 1/4-inch-deep parallel lines, 1 to 2 inches apart. Then score skin in the opposite direction to create a diamond pattern. Return to oven and bake 30 minutes. Baste with honey-horseradish mixture and continue to bake, basting every 30 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of flesh near (but not touching) bone registers 145 degrees, about 2 hours more. If necessary, add water to pan, about 1/4 cup at a time, to prevent pan from scorching, and tent with foil if ham begins to blacken.

4. Meanwhile, stir together creme fraiche, remaining 1/3 cup horseradish, thyme, and shallot. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Transfer ham to a serving platter and let rest at least 20 minutes. Serve with horseradish cream.

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Roasted Salmon and Spring Onions with Mint-Caper Pesto

When you roast a piece of salmon, the result is lustrous and so tender it verges on buttery. Succulent spring onions, cooked with the fish until they’re caramelized, are a textural counterpoint.

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds spring onions or baby leeks, trimmed and halved lengthwise (if using leeks, wash thoroughly after halving)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 piece (3 pounds) skinless salmon fillet, preferably wild Pacific
2 cups lightly packed fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons slivered blanched almonds, toasted
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling
2 lemons, cut into wedges

Cook’s Note
Take the salmon out of the oven when it’s partially opaque in the center. The residual heat will continue to cook the fish.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with 1 tablespoon oil each. Divide onions between baking sheets and drizzle each with 2 tablespoons oil; season generously with coarse salt and pepper. Roast until bottoms of onions are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Remove from oven; reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Let onions cool, then consolidate them on 1 baking sheet.

2. Place salmon on top of onions. Brush with 2 tablespoons oil and season with coarse salt and pepper. Roast on lower rack of oven until partially opaque in center, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/2 cup oil, mint, almonds, capers, 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a mini food processor or blender, and puree mixture until smooth.

4. Remove salmon and onions from oven; carefully transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt; serve with lemon wedges and pesto.

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Butterflied, Rolled, and Roasted Leg of Lamb

This sliced leg of lamb shows off spirals of artichoke stuffing. Serve on a bed of sweet spring peas and baby spinach, alongside fresh-mint sauce.

4 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced and finely chopped
Steamed garlic cloves (from Steamed Artichokes),
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
1/2 cup fresh plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 artichoke hearts (from Steamed Artichokes), finely chopped
1 leg of lamb, bone removed (7 to 8 pounds), butterflied
Extra-virgin olive oil, for rubbing
2 cups water
Fresh-Mint Sauce for serving

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pulse pancetta, garlic, cheese, breadcrumbs, mint, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and some pepper in a food processor until combined. Add artichokes. Pulse a few times, keeping mixture chunky.

2. Lay lamb flat on a work surface, skin side down. Season with salt. Spread artichoke mixture over top, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Tightly roll lamb, and tie with kitchen twine at 2-inch intervals to hold.

3. Rub lamb with oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to a roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack, and add water to pan. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer reaches 130 degrees to 135 degrees (for medium-rare), 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Serve with mint sauce.

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