“E” is for Elegant Easter

Mark and Graham, Williams Sonoma, Tory Burch

Easter is a time for dressing up. This year, spiff up not only yourself but your table, too. Dine fine. Make this an elegant Easter everyone will remember with table decor that’s the peak of chic with a dash of contemporary style.

Williams Sonoma

With roses and passion flowers woven in a subdued gray and white palette, the Bloom linen-blend jacquard runner feels fresh and modern. Mix this runner with clean-lined china like my next pick and you’ve got a table with lots of style depth. $79.95.

Crate and Barrel

It’s time to embrace fine china again and here’s why. Nothing takes a table up a notch quite like it. For example, White Pearl bone china is embellished with embossed dots that resemble a lovely string of pearls. The look is clean, contemporary and simply stunning. $96.95/4-piece place setting.

Tory Burch

Although majolica dates back to the days of England’s Queen Victoria, it’s trendy again (kind of like HRH herself on PBS) because designers like Tory Burch are seeing it through new eyes. Burch’s Lettuce Ware collection is all about crisp, colorful silhouettes stripped down to their fresh-from-the-garden, organic essence. These pieces will add wow to your table for years to come and are exquisitely crafted, so they’re worth the investment. $245/teapot. $158/set of 4 salad plates. $195/round platter. $148/pitcher.

Mark and Graham

I’ve never been a fan of big fussy centerpieces. They often feel contrived and wind up getting removed from the table anyway to make room for food. That’s what makes a vase like this practically perfect. When filled with a handful of fresh flowers, this monogrammed porcelain vase adds a lovely finishing touch to the table. $59.

Williams Sonoma

Eggs are part of Easter tradition but why should they languish in garish green plastic grass when they can strut their stuff like this? Designed in England exclusively for Williams Sonoma, Meri Meri’s egg decorating kit transforms boiled eggs into festively attired Easter bunnies. These would make a whimsical centerpiece or charming party favors. And the price is right.  $12/set of 6.

Robert M. Peacock, Chronicle Books

Dining fine is about more than just setting the table with style. Make sure there’s at least one showstopper item on your menu like this marinated shrimp, tomato and mozzarella salad from “Southern Appetizers” by Denise Gee. It adds color and texture to the table while also elegantly elevating taste buds.

Marinated Shrimp, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad
Southern Appetizers
Denise Gee

This “wow” salad, which looks splendid in a large trifle dish, is the darling of any casual or elegant buffet-style brunch, late-afternoon gathering on the porch, or early evening cocktail party. Using packaged dressing mix keeps this super easy to make, while the white balsamic vinegar lends flavor sophistication. Bocconcini are one to two-inch balls of mozzarella packed in water and found in the deli area of most large supermarkets. Serve atop a bed of butter lettuce leaves or in avocado halves, if desired.

Serves 8 to 10

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
Two 0.75-ounce packets garlic and herb dressing mix (such as good Seasons)
2 pounds large (21/25 count) cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
1½ to 2 pounds baby mozzarella balls (2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
¹⁄³ cup fresh basil chiffonade, plus more for garnish
¼ cup finely chopped green onions

In a large glass measuring cup with a spout, whisk to combine the olive oil, vinegar, and dressing mix.

In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil,and green onions. Pour in the dressing and use a rubber spatula to gently incorporate the ingredients.

Transfer the mixture to a large plastic zip-top bag (which allows for easier shaking of ingredients, transport if taking the food elsewhere, and cleanup) and refrigerate for at least 4 but no longer than 8 hours (long marinade times compromise the shrimps’ texture), shaking the ingredients occasionally to evenly marinate them.

Serve cold or at room temperature, garnished with basil.

Recipe from “Southern Appetizers” by Denise Gee, courtesy of Chronicle Books.