Sunday, November 8, 2009

A New Side Dish

Stately and imposing, roast turkey has an alluring presence on the table. But, all too often, the feast offered the eyes does not translate to the tongue. That is why I stand with the sides in the turkey v. side dish debate. I don't believe a relatively lean bird can compete with bread crumbs soaked in eggs and potatoes smothered in butter. I won't even start with the pie.

Unfortunately, I'm not the only one in the family who covets the side dishes. When remnants of the Thanksgiving day meal are lined up, buffet-style, my siblings and I elbow for leftovers - mashed potatoes, dressing, and corn (a family tradition) - like early morning shoppers at a black Friday sale. A few forkfuls of the dismantled turkey eventually also make it onto our plates. Inevitably the dreaded post-Thanksgiving complaints are registered. "Is the dressing all gone???" "What happened to the mashed potatoes?"

Given our unanimous preference for sides, I decided to add another dish to the table this year. I wanted something to counteract the richness of the mashed potatoes and dressing. Bon Appetit's brussels sprouts slaw with mustard dressing should create the right balance. In-season and full of flavor, the briefly steamed sprouts offer crunch and tang. I'm hoping their presence on the menu will lead to less tussling over leftovers after the holiday.

Quick tip: score each sprout before placing them in your steamer. This helps the leaves and core to cook at the same rate.

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