Three outstanding recipes for your Thanksgiving table
In a month’s time, you will be inundated with Top 10 and best-of lists, as cognoscenti look back on the previous year to give you their take on everything from films to fashion to food.
I don’t have anything like that in the works, but I’ve got something of a jump on it. Here are the three dishes that I either made or ate in the past 11 months that I hope you might make for your Thanksgiving Day dinner table or sideboard.
They are simply splendid. One is a perfectly balanced dressing that would serve as a dip or to dress greens of any kind. Another is something that I made as part of “A Dinner in Rome” for a small group. It is a good example of “cucina ebraica,” the fried vegetable cuisine that the Roman Jews perfected because they would rarely cook with butter.
And the third comes from the hands of chef Alon Shaya and his Denver restaurant Safta. He coaxes and burnishes an admirable, mellow sweetness from the humble green cabbage.
I give thanks for these three treats from this year and I hope they might grace your Thanksgiving meal.
Turmeric Ginger Dressing
From Karen Falbo, director of nutrition education at Natural Grocers. Makes a bit more than 1/4 cup.
- Juice of 1/2 organic lemon
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1-inch knob of organic ginger (about 1 tablespoon roughly chopped)
- 1 small knob organic turmeric (about 2 teaspoons roughly chopped) or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons Grade A dark maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
In a blender or with an immersion blender, blend all of the ingredients, except the chia seeds, until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and maple syrup. Stir in the chia seeds. Set aside until service.
Concia di Zucchini (Fried, Marinated Zucchini)
Adapted from Joyce Goldstein at foodnetwork.com and “Tasting Rome” by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill (Clarkson Potter, 2016). Serves 4-6
- 4-6 zucchini, depending on size to make 6 cups partially peeled and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons basil leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup mix of white wine, apple cider and rice vinegar, 1/3 each
- Kosher or sea salt
Slice the zucchini either into rounds or lengthwise into long strips, either 1/4-inch thick. Mix the garlic and green herbs in a small bowl and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
Fry the strips or rounds of zucchini until lightly browned (or slightly darker if you wish) on both sides, 4-5 minutes. As they brown, lay the zucchini on paper towels, opened brown bags or clean cardboard to drain, flipping them again so that both sides drain of excess oil.
Layer the zucchini, in layers, crisscrossing, in a shallow glass or non-reactive serving dish and in between each layer sprinkle a small handful of the green herbs and garlic and sprinkle generously with the vinegar mix and salt. End with a final layer of the herbs, garlic salt and vinegar.
Cover the serving dish with plastic wrap and let the zucchini marinate overnight. Allow to come to room temperature to serve, as a side dish or as the insides to a sandwich made with crusty ciabatta or other bread.
Charred Cabbage with Olive Oil
From “Shaya,” by Alon Shaya (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018). The recipe has been edited slightly for space. Serves 4-6.
- 2 quarts water
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar, preferably seasoned
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeño, seeds and pith removed, sliced
- 1 star anise pod
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 medium green cabbage
Get a pot that’s deep and not too wide, something to hold your head of cabbage as snugly as possible. Fill it with the water, 1⁄2 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons salt and all the other ingredients except the cabbage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavor to build.
Meanwhile, trim any tough outer leaves from the cabbage, and halve it lengthwise. Taste the broth; when it’s been infused with the jalapeño and garlic, carefully lower the cabbage halves into the pot (a couple of large spoons can help you manipulate it if you’re worried about splashing) and reduce the heat to low. Cover, and cook for 30 minutes; then give it a quick stir to rotate any parts that have not been submerged. Cover, and cook for another 30 minutes.
Check the cabbage; it’s ready when it’s easily pierced with a knife but still resists slightly. If, after an hour, it’s still a bit too firm, rotate it again, cover, and continue to cook, checking every 5-10 minutes, until it’s ready. Depending on the size of your cabbage, cooking can take up to 1 1⁄2 hours.
With a slotted spoon or a strainer (tongs will rough it up too much), move the cabbage to a rimmed baking sheet and set it aside to cool slightly. Strain and reserve the broth for any other use; it makes a great soup base. Meanwhile, heat the broiler with a rack in the upper-middle position of your oven.
Leaving the stem ends intact, cut each half of cabbage lengthwise into halves or thirds; drain away the excess liquid, and remove any leaves that are so soft they’re falling off. Place each wedge on the baking sheet with the curved side down, so both flat sides are exposed, then brush or drizzle them with the last 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle the last 1 teaspoon salt all over.
Broil for 10-12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through, until there’s plenty of charring all along the edges. This is what adds a ton of flavor and interest to an otherwise overlooked vegetable. Serve the cabbage warm, dressed simply with olive oil.
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