Holiday Food 2013: The Sinful and the Saintly
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Holiday Food 2013: The Sinful and the Saintly

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The Decadent, Butter-Drenched Feast

Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine; Food styling by Karen Evans

For this Thanksgiving spread, no stick of butter was spared. The pièce de résistance? An over-the-top turkey courtesy of chef Paul Liebrandt, the eccentric mastermind behind the Elm in Williamsburg. After a quick brine to semi-cure the skin, the bird spends a night resting in the refrigerator to dry out before it is slowly roasted with six (yes, six) sticks of butter and four ounces of black truffles, ultimately becoming what Liebrandt says is simply “a luxurious treat.” Marea chef Michael White’s opulent squash bisque, topped with jumbo lump crabmeat and drizzled with crème fraîche, pumpkin-seed oil, and sparkling pomegranate seeds, is actually the lightest dish on the menu—“The squash gives the soup a creamy texture, but it’s not too heavy before the turkey,” White says—but his bread pudding with bone marrow, mushrooms, and more black truffles makes up for it. “The bone marrow is unctuous,” he says. “It’s the secret ingredient to coax out more flavor.” Michel Richard, who recently opened the ornate Villard Michel Richard in the Palace Hotel on Madison Avenue, went all out with his Brussels sprouts, smothering them in a creamy bacon sauce. Richard, who started out as a pastry chef at Lenôtre in Paris, also created a pumpkin-mousse-pie showstopper. “Pumpkin on its own is boring,” says Richard. So he went to town with a chocolate crust, then a layer of candied pecans for a little crunch, followed by the spicy pumpkin mousse, topped off with cascades of shaved chocolate; an appropriately grand finale that will leave you in elastic-waisted pants for the foreseeable future.

 

Recipe: Slow-Roasted Turkey in Black-Truffle Butter by Paul Liebrandt

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The Virtuous, Olive-Oil-Based Feast

Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine; Food styling by Karen Evans

Those looking to indulge this holiday season without having to follow up with a cleanse will appreciate this olive-oil-centric feast. Since it’s nearly impossible to make a turkey that’s both good for you and delicious, Einat Admony, of Nolita Mediterranean restaurant Balaboosta, suggests a whole roasted salmon as an alternate centerpiece. She gussies it up with layers of lemons, rosemary, thyme, and garlic and tops it with a tasty caper-and-currant sauce. Instead of mashing sweet potatoes (which inevitably require extra butter), Admony roasts them with mustard seeds, for crunch, as well as rosemary and honey: “Honey is my sugar,” she says. As for the latkes—which Admony included here as a nod to the highly unusual fact that the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving this year—yes, they are fried, but they’re fried in olive oil, and topped with a healthy yogurt sauce. Amanda Cohen, of East Village vegetarian mainstay Dirt Candy, believes that Brussels sprouts have been abused and overcooked for too long. So she went for a fresh, bright-green Brussels-sprout salad, tossed with almonds and pear and finished with a salty Pecorino Romano. Seamus Mullen, known for his locavore-­leaning Spanish eatery Tertulia, takes the ubiquitous kale and elevates it with cubes of butternut squash, sweet raisins, and shredded Cheddar. “While kale has a natural bitterness, it becomes more accessible with the raisins and squash, and the ­Cheddar brings the two elements together,” he says. Finally, Admony’s pavlova with a crispy exterior and a marshmallow center might seem like an indulgence, but it’s made with egg whites and dolloped with a Greek-yogurt-and-date-infused cream substitute.

 

Recipe: Whole Roasted Salmon With Preserved-Lemon, Caper, and Dill Sauce by Einat Admony

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The Virtuous, Olive-Oil-Based Feast

Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine; Food styling by Karen Evans

Recipe: Corn Salad With Red Peppers by Einat Admony

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The Virtuous, Olive-Oil-Based Feast

Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine; Food styling by Karen Evans

Recipe: Sweet-Potato Wedges With Rosemary and Mustard Seeds by Einat Admony, adapted from Balaboosta by Einat Admony (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013.

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The Virtuous, Olive-Oil-Based Feast

Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine; Food styling by Karen Evans

Recipe: Pavlova With Dates and Pears by Einat Admony

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