Part 1: Appetizers and Side Dishes
Oh, party anxiety. From the first slumber party you ever threw to the last time you hosted the holidays, it always seems to be there. Is there enough food? Will everyone show up? Will Uncle Joe tell that same boring story again? And, God, what about the cat hair everywhere?
Well, we’d like to help make Thanksgiving a little less stressful for you this year. We asked some of our chefs for a few recipes that will have all eyes focused on your fabulous meal and not on the dust bunnies in the corner. We’re starting today with appetizers and side dishes, including: warm goat cheese, courtesy of Chef Jay Silva at Bambara in Cambridge, MA; roasted squash salad with ham and olives, from Chef Jason McClure of Sazerac in Seattle; and butternut squash and apple soup from Chef Heather Terhune at Chicago’s Sable Kitchen & Bar.
And in honor of the overlap of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah this year, Chef Jason has also sent along his recipe for latkes. This is the first time in 125 years the two holidays have converged, but don’t get too used to the idea of “Thanksgivukkah.” The next time it will occur will be in about 80,000 years.
For the rest of the week, we’ll be moving on to non-traditional main courses (like salmon and grilled quail), desserts (anybody up for maple-pecan bread pudding baked in a baby pumpkin with Maker’s Mark crème anglaise?), and then concluding Friday with a Q&A with our Master Sommelier Emily Wines, who has the perfect suggestions for what to bring to your holiday table.
Bon appétit and happy holidays!
Warm Goat Cheese and Flatbread
Jay Silva, Bambara
3 ounces of goat cheese
1 cup sliced almonds
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
Press goat cheese into a crème brûlée dish and cover with crumb topping (see preparation below). Bake until warm. Brush flatbread with olive oil and season with salt and bake until cooked. Slice and serve with goat cheese dip, garnished with honey. Serves four
Put sliced almonds in a sauté pan, cover with olive oil and cook over medium heat until browning begins. Remove from heat. Mix with 2 cups of panko bread crumbs in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Warm Salad Roasted Squash With Cured Ham and Olives
Jason McClure, Sazerac
16 very thin slices of prosciutto or other high-quality ham
½ pound arugula, watercress or mizuna
1 butternut squash, peeled, sliced into wedges
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
½ tablespoon toasted cracked fennel seed
½ tablespoon toasted cracked coriander seed
1 teaspoon celery seed
½ tablespoon red chili flakes
1 cup oil-cured olives, or your favorite olives
Small wedge of aged, hard cheese, such as Parmesan, Manchego or dry Monterey Jack
Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
Divide and layout ham on four large plates. Set aside. Mix together all spices. Toss squash with olive oil and as much of the seasoning mix as you like. Place squash on a lined sheet pan and roast at 450 degrees until it’s beginning to caramelize and is soft all the way through when pricked with a fork. Tear the squash into bite-size pieces and drop randomly on top of each plate of ham. Sprinkle plates with arugula and olives. Drizzle each plate with a healthy tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Finally, with a vegetable peeler, shave some of the hard cheese over each plate and enjoy. Serves four.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Heather Terhune, Sable Kitchen & Bar
½ medium onion, chopped (½ cup)
1 large leek, chopped fine and washed well (1 cup)
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
¼ cup of butter
2 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
1 medium Granny Smith apple (peeled, seeded and diced)
2 cups of apple cider
½ cup cream or coconut milk (not cream of coconut)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Season each half with salt and pepper. Rub butter on a sheet pan and place the squash cut-side down. Bake until the squash is soft. You will know when it’s done when a knife is inserted and it is tender. This should take about an hour.
Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Melt butter. Add the onion, leeks, garlic and bay leaf. Cook until soft but not browned. Add the apple and the flesh of the cooked squash. Next add the apple cider. You may need to add water to thin the soup. Cook for 25 minutes then discard the bay leaf.
In a blender purée the mixture in batches, transferring it to a clean saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Finish with the heavy cream. If the soup is too thick you can thin it down with more water or apple cider. Serves Six.
Heather Terhune: “Butternut squash is very nutritious. It’s full of vitamins A and C, and it has a naturally sweet flavor that really emerges when roasted. The seeds are packed with protein and heart-healthy fats. It’s a delicious seasonal squash that can be cooked in a variety of ways — baked or roasted, in a purée, in soups or stews, and as a sweet addition to other hearty winter dishes. It can also be used in place of pumpkin.”
Jason McClure, Sazerac
½ pound Yukon Gold potatoes
½ pound Russet potatoes
1 large Walla Walla yellow onion (finely chopped)
1 egg lightly beaten
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Peel and coarsely grate potatoes into large bowl of cold water. Soak potatoes for a few minutes then drain into colander. Take grated potato and onion and roll into a kitchen towel (like a jelly roll — basically spread out a towel, lay on mixture, roll up and twist up and wring out as much liquid as possible). Transfer mixture to bowl. Stir in egg and salt.
Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add more oil as you work (you may use more than ½ cup total). Working in batches, spoon 2 tablespoons of mixture per latke; place four in pan at one time spreading out to 3 inches (or so) per latke. Brown on both sides for a total of five minutes (two-and-a-half minutes per side). Transfer to a paper towel to drain and season with more salt. Makes 12 latkes.