I remember the first time I had to explain to my non-Mexican friends what my family does for Easter. “So you crack eggs on each other’s heads and confetti comes out?” “Yeah, but they’re not real eggs, I mean, they were, but we ate those and now they’re just filled with confetti.” It’s a hard thing for a pre-teen kid to explain, when all you want to do is fit it and not be noticed. So much for that. It’s a shame we have to grow up to truly appreciate our uniqueness, especially when it comes at the expense of owning up to weird family traditions.
I can’t say I’ve done much egg cracking on anyone’s head in the past 20 years, but I still like to remember my mother, carefully tapping a small hole into the top of an egg, making my father’s breakfast and then rinsing out the egg and setting it on the windowsill to dry. She would sit for hours in the evening, with a large, mustard-colored bowl in her lap, carefully snipping the confetti from thick and elastic crepe paper of all colors that we used to only find in Mexico. Aquas, yellows, pinks and purples. As she snipped, the bottom of the bowl grew a rainbow of colors. When we had collected enough eggs to make several dozen, we’d pull out the Paas coloring kits and get to filling the eggs and capping them with a small round of colored crepe paper. Some years it was innocent enough fun. Some years, my brothers and cousins waged all out war, secretly undoing my mother’s handywork and adding things like poppy seeds and flour to the confetti. It was cruel fun. Our families knew how to have a good time. Even my dad, who seemed all year like the most stoic and scariest dad, cracked a little smile when he smashed an egg on one of us or my mom. Our yard became a kaleidoscope of colors as the confetti and colored and cracked egg shells littered the new grass that poked up through the mud each Spring.
I don’t really have any Easter traditions of my own these days. I like to eat the candy, but that’s about it. I’ve been a bit hyped up on sugar these days so I thought I’d do something a little savory for this next recipe. I made a version of these a few years ago when Easter egg radishes and those beautiful white turnips showed up at my local farmer’s market. It’s a pretty easy and quick recipe and there’s zero need to turn on the stove or oven. So, yeah, the “toast” in these toasts is just a description not a cooking method. If you want a quick brunch idea for Easter this year, or just want to make your family think you’ve painstakingly spent hours tweezing herbs onto these toasts, give these a try. No eggs or radishes or unsuspecting heads were harmed in the making of this recipe.
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch Easter egg radishes (at least 6 radishes)
1 small round loaf of your favorite rustic bread (this recipe features rosemary bread)
Yields: 1 dozen toasts
In a food processor, roughly chop all ingredients from beans to olive oil until the consistency is cohesive and spreadable, but still a bit chunky. (You may also use a potato masher, just be sure to finely mince the garlic and thyme).
Give the radishes a good rinse and then remove the tops and bottoms. If you don’t mind the slight bitterness, you can also use a little of the radish greens to garnish. Thinly slice the radishes and set aside. You may also place them in a bowl of cold water to keep them nice and crisp. When ready to serve, just drain water, pat dry with paper towels and assemble the toasts.
Slice short ends off of bread (good for snacking). Cut bread into 1-inch slices and then cut into smaller halves.
Spread 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons of the garbanzo spread onto each slice of bread. Layer 3-4 radishes along the top. Garnish with any remaining lemon zest, thyme and a light drizzle of olive oil.