Amanda & Merrill

Curried Smoked Turkey Salad

February 18, 2011

Curried Smoked Turkey Salad

- Amanda

Cafe enjoyment is often about strategy -- where you sit, how to coax the barista into making your coffee just so, making sure you get there before your beloved cinnamon roll is snapped up by someone else. Recently, my husband Tad and I figured out that if we wanted to be able to get a table for four on the weekends at our favorite local spot -- Iris Cafe -- we needed to arrive just before 9 am. We've managed to do it but it's not pretty. One of our kids usually leaves the house half pajama'd, and we end up sprint-walking -- no stopping to indulge one's curiosity in a sidewalk crack! -- there. But it's worth it so we can sit, each in our own seat, and stare at each other, half awake, as we gulp coffee and eat soft-boiled eggs with mashed avocado on toast.

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Iris Cafe, in many respects, is the consummate cafe. It's on an obscure street in Brooklyn Heights, so there's no street traffic. And this means all of its customers are devotees, who make it their destination. The room is relaxed like worn-in jeans, the coffee is delicious (Stumptown), they sell local eggs and dairy (Brooklyn badge of honor), and the food is exceptionally good.

On Tuesdays, when we do our weekly photo shoot at my apartment, we occasionally get take-out from Iris Cafe (dinner roll and chocolate cake weeks need lunch supplements!). One of the food52 team favorites is the Curried Smoked Turkey Salad. So, for my second installment of the Counterfeit Cook Office Lunch Series, Iris Cafe's owner, Rachel Graville, shared the recipe:

Curried Smoked Turkey Salad

Adapted from Iris Cafe in Brooklyn Heights

Serves 4

Curry Mayonnaise:


  • 1 pound smoked turkey breast, cut into 1/4-inch dice (Rachel likes Neuskes)
  • 1/4 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup flame or golden raisins (dried cranberries wouldn't be bad, either!)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 large handfuls mixed greens
  • Olive oil, for sprinkling
  • Balsamic vinegar, for sprinkling
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 4 slices cranberry (or raisin) pecan bread, toasted and buttered

1. Make the mayonnaise. Mix the garlic relish and mayonnaise, and adjust to taste, adding more garlic relish for more curry flavor.

2. Combine the turkey, onion, celery, raisins and black pepper, and then, little by little, add in the mayo, folding it together with a spoon. The salad should just come together, but not be too wet. Only season with salt if necessary (smoked turkey is usually salted).

3. To serve: sprinkle a bowl of greens with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar (the curry mayo also acts as additional dressing so use oil and vinegar sparingly!). Serve a generous scoop of the turkey salad on top of greens, top with a handful of the chopped walnuts, and a little more black pepper. At Iris Cafe, they serve this salad with a piece of toasted cranberry pecan bread from Pain d'Avignon, in the Essex Street Market.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Rhonda35 March 2, 2011
I have no idea how I survived for 46 years without Patak's Garlic Relish in my life!!! It is soooo good; I've been using it on everything. Made this salad yesterday - all ingredients were the same except I couldn't find smoked turkey, so I used smoked chicken. Delicious!
randipie February 23, 2011
I went out and bought Patak's Garlic Relish at my local Indian Market. Even knowing all the best places to buy ingredients in Salt Lake City, I was surprised I was able to find it. I'm making this tomorrow night and am SO excited. Now to see if I can find golden raisins!
Amanda H. March 2, 2011
Congrats on the shopping triumph -- I love when that happens.
pinkpisces February 21, 2011
Just joined this wonderful site and am curious about the shrimp/ chorizo sandwich mentioned in the comments and apparently featured last week. Is the recipe posted on food52, because my search did not yield it - perhaps there is a different name for it? Thanks so much!
Amanda H. February 21, 2011
Here's a link to the post:
Amanda H. February 21, 2011
P.S. Welcome to food52! Forgot my manners ....!
TheHealthyApple February 20, 2011
Sounds delicious; I love smoked turkey and this garlic relish sounds divine; I must try it. Great recipe, Amanda...Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your evening.
Amanda H. February 21, 2011
Thanks! Enjoy.
odetoamacaron February 20, 2011
Iris might be the best cafe in Brooklyn! I love anything with the soft-boiled eggs (with the avocado on toast, like you mentioned!!!). i actually just posted some pics of Iris on my blog:
Amanda H. February 21, 2011
Thanks for the link!
Mcalvosa February 20, 2011
If I cannot find smoked turkey breast, what else can I use to substitute it?
Amanda H. February 20, 2011
Regular roasted turkey breast will work. Or you could try smoked chicken, or even smoked ham.
damson February 18, 2011
Well, I made last week's shrimp chorizo sandwich for lunch TWICE this week, so I'm glad to try something new for next week! Thank you! I love this series.
Amanda H. February 18, 2011
That's great -- will be heading in a new direction next week. Stay tuned!
nico843 February 18, 2011
We eat here on average, at least twice a week! Its heaven to have it just around the corner, and the avocado toast is divine. My husband refers to their soft boiled eggs as "liquid gold"! I'm partial to the ploughmans sandwich myself, and recently invested in a jar of the chutney they sell to recreate it at home. Yummy!
Amanda H. February 18, 2011
Haven't had the ploughmans -- need to try it. Also love their tuna sandwich.
humbled February 18, 2011
Where does onE buy Patak's Garlic Relish? Thank you.
Food52 February 18, 2011
You may be able to find it at a local grocer (perhaps specialty), but here it is on-line! Enjoy:
humbled February 18, 2011
Where does on buy Patak's Garlic Relish?
hardlikearmour February 18, 2011
Love that you're familiar with Stumptown coffee, Amanda!
Amanda H. February 18, 2011
Yes -- like it a lot. And Iris Cafe prepares it well.