Archive for November, 2011

Gobbling Down Those Salads

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

How can it be that time of year again?  Our neighbors’ lawns are dotted with colorful Pilgrim and turkey inflatables.  “Black Friday” commercials are bombarding the airwaves.  And the supermarkets are packed with frantic shoppers whose carts are stuffed with those Thanksgiving fixings that will ultimately make us feel just like that guy in the “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” Alka-Seltzer commercial.

Full disclosure: I’m not a big fan of the holiday turkey.  Because, honestly, in terms of overall flavor and just general pizzazz, how can it compare with baked sweet potatoes mashed with gobs of butter, Barbara’s cranberry crunch (a dessert cleverly masquerading as a side dish) and the iconic pumpkin pie?  (Adam Gopnik writes in a recent New Yorker article of “the bird’s natural tendency not to taste very good.”)

But, on The Day After, it’s a different story; leftover turkey rules.  Cold and sliced, it can be the foundation of fabulous sandwiches, like this one with guacamole, avocado, sliced cheese and tomatoes.

Even better:  how about putting that turkey in a green salad?  For some reason, though, chicken—and not its turkey cousin—usually provides the fowl addition to most greens.   For instance, who ever heard of a turkey Caesar?  Maybe because it’s easier to cook a chicken breast than its turkey counterpart?  Or perhaps because chicken tends to be  juicier?

This seems consistent with the offerings of most salad-serving restaurants. For instance, among the eight salads listed on the Panera signature salad menu, six are made with chicken, while only one is turkey-based (baste?):  the roast turkey harvest salad, with fresh pears, dried cherries, Gorgonzola cheese, pecans and cherry balsamic vinaigrette .

There are also some good turkey salad recipes out there, like the Food Network’s mixed greens with turkey, strawberries, kiwi and cashews in honey-sesame dressing.

But, for this year’s post-Thanksgiving lunch, I’m thinking of concocting my own salad, based on Sopraffina’s farmstand version:  mixed greens, candied walnuts, crumbled goat cheese and sherry raisin vinaigrette.  Instead of the tomatoes, though, perhaps I’ll add dried cranberries—and, of course, the bird de resistance—turkey.

Yours till Plymouth rocks,
NJT(urkey)