Quick and Easy

Curried Smoked Turkey Salad

October  4, 2022
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

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.

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. —Amanda Hesser

What You'll Need
  • 1 teaspoon Patak's Garlic Relish
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 pound smoked turkey breast, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 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 handfuls mixed greens (be generous)
  • 1 splash Olive oil, for sprinkling
  • 1 splash 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sally
  • Big Pot
    Big Pot
  • LLStone
  • Amrita
  • Melody
Amanda Hesser

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

13 Reviews

Wendy W. June 26, 2020
I made this last night, using Diestel's smoked turkey, and was not blown away. The salt and smokiness overwhelmed the other elements, alas; even though I eventually tripled the recommended amount of the (truly wonderful) Patak's Garlic Relish, the curry aspects were very subdued. I also think ordinary Flame-type raisins lack a tartness necessary for my palate, so I am going to try making it again, using half/three-quarters unsmoked turkey, and trying the cranberries suggestions, or maybe substituting chopped dried apricots. I also think it's fine, and easier, to fold the chopped walnuts right on in. It may be that Diestel's just is very smoky and salty, I dunno.
Sally May 8, 2016
What is pataks garlic relish?
Amanda H. May 8, 2016
It's a jarred relish found in many grocery stores -- if you can't find it, you can substitute a smashed and chopped garlic clove.
Amanda H. May 8, 2016
The full ingredient list of the relish is as follows: garlic, onions, canola oil, sugar, raisins, dates, salt, chilli peppers, mustard, fenugreek, coriander leaves, ginger and mixed spices.
Lula M. May 8, 2016
"make the mayonnaise" – what mayonnaise? From reading comments it sounds like its a special curry mayo, but that's totally unclear and not listed, nor is a link working.
Amanda H. May 8, 2016
Hi Lula Mae -- to make the mayonnaise, you simply mix store-bought mayonnaise with the garlic relish. I think this would have been clearer if I'd used a colon rather than a period at the end of that sentence. I'll fix that now.
Lula M. May 9, 2016
So much more clear! Thanks!
Big P. June 7, 2014
Making this delicious salad for the 4th or 5th time to have for a picnic tomorrow. And I'm scraping the bottom of my Patak's Garlic Relish.
LLStone February 20, 2012
The curry mayo link isn't working - it just links back to the recipe. Just fyi.
LLStone February 20, 2012
Oops - I should've said the link to the garlic relish isn't working.
Amrita February 17, 2012
Love the idea of a seeded bread with this salad! Perfect for lunch.
Melody March 7, 2011
The curry mayonnaise ingredients are missing from this recipe.
Amanda H. March 11, 2011
Thanks for letting me know -- should be fixed now.