Kitchen Hacks

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

November 26, 2015

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.

Shop the Story

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

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Pretty much everything The Silver Palate has done is totally gold. Looks delish!”
— Tucker &.

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!

The Genius Recipes cookbook is here—and a New York Times Best Seller! It's a mix of greatest hits from the column and unpublished new favorites—all told, over 100 recipes that will change the way you cook. It's on the shelves now, or you can order your copy here

Listen & Subscribe

From our new podcast network, The Genius Recipe Tapes is lifelong Genius hunter Kristen Miglore’s 10-year-strong column in audio form, featuring all the uncut gems from the weekly column and video series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss out.

Listen & Subscribe

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Mary O'Shea
    Mary O'Shea
  • Tucker & Me
    Tucker & Me
  • Bob
  • EmilyC
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Mary O. November 28, 2015
The recipe is in their "New Basics" book.
Tucker &. November 26, 2015
Pretty much everything The Silver Palate has done is totally gold. Looks delish!
Bob November 26, 2015
Happy thanksgiving. You did a great job with this salad.
EmilyC November 26, 2015
This looks so good! Happy Thanksgiving Kristen!
Kristen M. November 26, 2015
Thanks, Emily—happy Thanksgiving! I think you will LOVE this salad.