Sides for Turkey Day

Published 2:09 am Saturday, November 18, 2017

I have always done mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving and am always looking for ways to enhance them. I found an article about an Indian flavoring called tarka, which loosely translates to something like “tempering.” In tarka, flavorful spices and herbs, often in the form of seeds or chilies but sometimes including garlic and ginger, are added to hot oil or butter. The temperature makes them pop with heat and quickly blooms their flavor into the fat. The seasonings are often strained from the butter, leaving behind a liquid that retains the aroma and flavor of the seasonings. This recipe would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving table. It would only take a little extra effort to blend the mustard and caraway seeds with the butter and add over the top of the mashed potatoes. The infusion of some horseradish with the mashed potatoes also really gives this dish a kick.


From ‘Milk Street’ November/December 2017.

Mashed Potatoes with Caraway-Mustard Butter

Serves 8

4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

Kosher salt

5 bay leaves

8 garlic cloves, smashed

10 tablespoons salted butter, divided

1 ¾ cups half-and-half, warmed

½ cup drained prepared white horseradish, liquid reserved

1 tablespoon caraway seeds, lightly crushed

1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds

2 tablespoons minced chives

In a Dutch oven, combine the potatoes, 1 tablespoon salt, the bay leaves and the garlic. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches then bring to a boil over high. Reduce to medium, then cook until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the bay and drain the potatoes, then return to the pot.

In a small saucepan over medium-low, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter. Add the melted butter to the potatoes. Using a potato masher, mash until smooth. Stir in the half-and-half, horseradish and 3 tablespoons of the reserved horseradish liquid. Taste, then season with salt. Cover and set over low to keep warm.

Return the saucepan to medium and add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and the caraway and mustard seeds. Cook, gently swirling the pan, until the butter is browned and the seeds are fragrant and toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain into a small grass measuring cup, discarding the solids. Transfer the potatoes to a serving dish, then drizzle with the flavored butter and sprinkle with the chives.

This cauliflower dish is also Indian inspired. It would be a great way to use less fast in the Thanksgiving meal and it was also delicious.

From David Tanis’ Market Cooking but found on the Splendid Table website.

Cauliflower “Couscous” with Spiced Butter

The idea is to cut the cauliflower into the tiniest florets possible. They are not quite as small as couscous, but they are small enough to cook very quickly.


1 large cauliflower (about 3 pounds)

4 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

Pinch of cayenne

¼ teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, or ½ teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons snipped chives

1 tablespoon lime juice, or to taste

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, with a paring knife, cut the cauliflower into tiny florets, as small as possible. (Save the stems and other trimmings for making soup.) You should have about 8 cups.

Working in batches, cook the florets in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, until just tender but still firm. Scoop them from the pot with a small strainer or a spider, blot on kitchen towels, and let cool.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the turmeric, cayenne, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Put the cauliflower in a large bowl and season lightly with salt. Drizzle the butter over it and toss gently. (The seasoned cauliflower can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 hours or covered and refrigerated overnight.)

Transfer the cauliflower to an ovenproof serving dish. Put in the oven and heat through, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives and lime juice and serve.