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The Silver Palate's Genius Day-After-Thanksgiving Salad

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I can predict exactly what you'll want to eat (and cook) the day after Thanksgiving.

Photo by Alpha Smoot

By then, you'll have navigated the turkey, the gravy, the starch on delicious starch, the family politics, the sidestepping dance of too many cooks in close quarters, the loose-slung questions about life that you're never quite ready for.


You'll have taken in the joyful first bites of a meal that you only get once a year, gone back for seconds on all the pies, thirds on the wine. You'll have done Thanksgiving in all its messy glory.

Photo by Alpha Smoot

And on Friday, if you are like me, you will be ready for something simpler. A table with a single, uplifting platter of food—one that's loaded with crunchy, spicy greens; a vinaigrette that isn't shy on the mustard; the comforting plainness of sliced new potatoes and a little salty nip of bacon, to give your leftover turkey curb appeal.

Photo by Alpha Smoot

In this genius Turkey Hash Salad—as Julee Rosso and the late Sheila Lukins of The Silver Palate named it—you will get all those things. But the biggest surprise will be the garlic cloves, which you'll boil in their skins until they've calmed and shed most of their stink and bite. Then you'll brown them up in the leftover bacon fat, and eat them whole.

Photo by Alpha Smoot

I wrote to Rosso to find out more about the salad, and particularly this unusual bit. It turns out to be a shortcut for roasted garlic, on a day when we might want shortcuts more than ever.

"We needed our lunch to be big on flavor and short on time. And so softening the garlic in water is an easy way to do it, but since we wanted the garlic very soft and yet browned, the bacon fat was right there and did the trick. Sort of the best of both worlds ... and fast!!"

Photo by Alpha Smoot

You might be tempted to just toss it all together, but by leaving the greens naked underneath, everything stays as you want it: The underdressed greens won't wilt, the overdressed turkey and potatoes don't return to being plain. As the two mingle on your plate, you'll stay alert till you scrape it clean, without ever seeing diminishing returns.

Photo by Alpha Smoot

Altogether, this salad is an uncanny balance of refreshing and filling, salty and tangy, meaty and bright. I find it cleansing in all the right ways. But it's also precisely what you want to cook on the day after Thanksgiving.

After a grand meal of competing interests—a menu of side dishes vying for space in the fridge and oven, on the table and plate; the mentally exhausting (or exhilarating) decisions about Grandmother's turkey versus a new off-road adventure—it will be a healthy denouement to come together on one recipe, with easily identified and distributed tasks.

Photo by Alpha Smoot

You can put your dad on vinaigrette duty, your nephew on washing watercress and tearing it into manageable mouthfuls. Your sister-in-law can scrub and roast potatoes, and any nearby child can pull cold turkey into shreds. Or, if you'd rather, you can retreat to the kitchen, while everyone else watches holiday movies or plays bridge, and make this alone.

Photo by Alpha Smoot
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The Silver Palate's Turkey Hash Salad

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Serves 6 to 8
  • 5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup light olive oil
  • 12 small red potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 12 large cloves garlic
  • 8 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
  • 3 cups coarsely shredded cooked turkey
  • 1 bunch arugula, rinsed, trimmed, and patted dry
  • 2 bunches watercress, rinsed, trimmed, and patted dry

Every week, Food52's Creative Director Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius. Got one for her—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it her way (and tell her what's so smart about it) at [email protected]. Thanks to Food52's Operations Manager Olivia Bloom for this one!

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