Food + Drink

From the Chronicle Kitchen: Saltie

Caroline Fidanza of Brooklyn’s beloved Saltie is this week’s guest blogger, offering up an irreverent and incredibly tasty Thanksgiving menu. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below. If you do, you’ll be eligible to win one of three copies of the recently released Saltie cookbook (winners will be selected at random; offer valid in the US and Canada only).

I was asked to compose a holiday menu that was cheap, easy and kitschy (not by Chronicle books—another news source). I was somewhat offended to be the one asked to participate in this category, as I would not use any of those words to describe myself. But in an effort to oblige I went to work on it. This menu is a dressed up version of a Saltie menu. It relates to things we do with the addition of a few bells and whistles. It is intended to be a fun and somewhat irreverent holiday menu. Irreverent is a word I would choose over kitsch. The recipes are simple enough, if not easy. I would serve everything at the same time rather than eat in courses—except the dessert. And I guarantee that the dish you will love the most will be the cream cheese with chutney and crackers. You could just serve that and not have to do any work.

Cream Cheese With Major Grey’s Chutney
Holiday Kedgeree
Turkey Bahn Mi
Salade Rapide
Goat Cheese Tart With Candied Quince

Cream Cheese With Chutney

Place 2-3 pounds of cream cheese on a decorative platter. Cover with Major Grey’s style chutney (buy the Stonewall Kitchen chutney if you can). Serve with crackers (we like Kavli).

Holiday Kedgeree
Curried rice with pan-fried squid and oysters, yogurt sauce and a fried egg

1 pound fresh squid, cut into thin rings
24 oysters, shucked
2 cups cornmeal
2 tablespoons turmeric
Salt and pepper

4 cups white basmati rice
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons curry powder
3 cups milk
3 cups water
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
Yogurt sauce (recipe follows)
8 eggs

Rinse the rice, then soak in a bowl of fresh cold water for 30 minutes. Drain through a strainer. Place a heavy- bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the olive oil is hot but not smoking, add the onion and garlic and sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and sauté with the onion for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to coat well with the oil, curry, and onion. If the mixture seems too dry at this point, add a little more olive oil.

Add the milk and water to the pot and stir the rice well. Taste the liquid for salt, adding more if necessary. Bring the rice to just nearly a boil, put the lid on, and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice rest 10 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce

1 pint whole-milk plain yogurt
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
White wine vinegar
Sea Salt

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mint and dill. Whisk in the olive oil, then season with salt and a splash of vinegar.

To serve

Heat the oven to 350. Generously oil two 8 inch non-stick skillets and crack 4 eggs into each pan.

Mix the cornmeal, turmeric, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss the squid and oysters in the cornmeal mixture. Heat a large skillet and cover the bottom with olive oil. When the oil begins to smoke add the squid and oysters to the pan, in batches, a little at a time being careful not to overcrowd the pan, and cook quickly until just opaque.

While cooking the fish put the eggs into the oven and cook until the white sets, about 5 minutes.

Place the rice in individual bowls. Spoon a generous amount of yogurt sauce onto the rice. Put the fried egg on top of the rice and then a portion of the fried squid and oysters.

Turkey Bahn Mi Sandwiches – Chicken Liver, Turkey Leg Confit, Mayo, Jalapeno, Pickled Carrots, Radishes, Herbs

2 soft baguette-style breads
2 large turkey legs
2 cups sliced pickled carrots
1 bunch red globe radishes, thinly sliced
1 small bunch cilantro, picked
1 small bunch mint, picked
4 pickled jalapeños, seeded, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced into thin strips
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
Sea Salt
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chicken liver mousse, recipe follows
1 cup mayonnaise

Turkey Rub

1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup mint
1/4 cup sea salt
2 Tablespoons whole coriander seed
2 Tablespoons whole cumin seed

1 pint chicken fat

At least the day before Thanksgiving mix all of the above in a bowl and pack the turkey legs into the salt mixture. Refrigerate overnight. Heat the oven to 300. Scrape the rub off of the turkey legs and then brown the legs on all sides in a hot pan. Transfer the legs to a roasting pan just big enough to hold the turkey legs snug and add the chicken fat. Add some fresh herbs and spices to the legs and a sprinkle of salt. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook turkey legs until they fall off the bone, about 3 hours.

To make the chicken liver mousse

Butter, have a pound ready
1 large Spanish onion, sliced
4 shallots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh picked thyme
2 pieces star anise, broken apart
1 pound chicken liver
Sherry vinegar
1/2 cup brandy
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Heat four ounces of butter in a large cast iron skillet until it sizzles. Add the onion, shallots, garlic, thyme and star anise to the butter, season well with salt, turn heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to slowly and deeply caramelize. Drain the chicken livers through a strainer and lay them out on paper towels to dry. Look over the livers and remove anything unpleasant. Season the livers well on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the same or another large cast iron skillet and cook the livers on high heat in a combination of olive oil and butter (about three tablespoons of each to start). Cook the livers quickly in small batches being sure not to overcrowd the pan so that they can brown on the outside but remain pink on the inside. Transfer the cooked livers to a bowl. Deglaze the pan between batches with sherry vinegar and pour over the livers. Finally, when all of the livers are cooked, use the brandy to deglaze the pan and add it to the rest. Allow everything to cool.

Once the livers and onions are cool puree them in a food processor. Put everything in at once and let the motor run–you want this to be smooth. Season with sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper. Chill. Chicken liver mousse can be made up to a week in advance.

To pickle the carrots

4 medium carrots, peeled
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup kosher salt
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Slice the carrots as thinly as possible, either into rounds or on the diagonal (bias). Put in a large heatproof bowl.

In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and spices and bring to a boil over medium- high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. When the sugar and salt have dissolved, pour the pickle over the carrots.

Let the pickles cool at room temperature and then put them into a plastic or glass container, cover, and refrigerate. The carrot pickle will be ready to eat the next day and will hold in the refrigerator for a month.

To assemble the Balmy

Mix the pickled carrots, radishes, herbs, jalapeño, and sesame seeds together in a bowl. Dress with extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and a little of the carrot pickling liquid. Taste for salt and heat.

Cut the bread in half lengthwise and spread an even and generous layer of chicken liver mousse on the bottom half of the bread. Shred the turkey confit onto the chicken liver in an even layer. Place the salad of mixed pickled vegetables and herbs on top of the turkey. Spread mayonnaise on the top half of the bread and squirt a line of Sriracha along the length of it. Spread the Sriracha into the mayonnaise and then top off the sandwich. Cut into individual servings.

Salade Rapide

2 medium carrots, peeled
2 medium beets, peeled
1⁄4 cup Mustard Vinaigrette
1⁄2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup golden raisins, plumped in hot water
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the pistachios with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt and toast on a baking sheet until they turn bright green, about 3 minutes. Let cool and chop coarsely.

Mustard Vinaigrette

2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced, or 1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Pommery mustard
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (optional)
A generous pinch of sea salt
1⁄2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1⁄2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

Put the garlic, mustard, thyme (if using), sea salt, and vinegar in a mason jar or any container with a screw- on top. Screw the top on tightly and shake to mix well. Uncover and add the olive oil. Close tightly again and shake until well mixed.

With either a mandolin or a Swiss vegetable peeler, slice the carrots and beets into thin slices (if you can, julienne the carrots and beets, otherwise this will do). Place the carrots and beets in a bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Let them sit for 10 minutes to macerate. Add the pistachios, golden raisins and parsley and toss to mix. Season as needed with sea salt.

Candied Quince And Goat Cheese Tart

For the candied quince

4 quince (3 to 4 pounds total weight)
2 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Preheat the oven to 250°F. Wash the quince well, peel, and cut into quarters.

Cut out the cores and cut the flesh into 1-inch dice. You should have about 4 cups. Put the quince in a bowl and toss with the sugar and cinnamon stick.

Transfer to a roasting pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast until the quince starts to steam and soften. When the quince is soft, remove the foil and continue roasting until it turns deep red and becomes jammy and concentrated. This will take a long time, as much as 3 hours. The longer you cook the quince, the deeper the flavor and color will be. Remove from the oven and let cool. Discard the cinnamon stick. Store quince in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For the tart dough

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup soft butter

Mix everything together in the bowl of a food processor until the dough just comes together. Lightly roll out dough and then press into a 12” tart pan with a removable bottom. Chill. Blind bake the shell in a 375 oven until golden.

For the filling

2 cups goat cheese
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla

Arrange the candied quince in an even layer in the prepared tart shell (you will not use all of it). Whisk together the goat cheese, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla. Pour over the quince and bake at 375 until set.

Purchase: Saltie: A Cookbook.

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