At Ease In the Galley this November brings families together for Thanksgiving, oyster roasts, and the opening of fall fishing and hunting season! Give thanks for the seasonal bounty we enjoy in this easy menu that serves four.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Curing time: 24-36 hours
1–2 lb. fresh boneless fillet of salmon, striped bass, snapper, mahi or tuna
2 tbsp. coarse salt
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. brandy or cognac
1 tbsp. ground pepper
1 tbsp. thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
Cut fillet crosswise into two equal pieces. Mix salt, sugar and pepper, and rub evenly on fish with herbs and brandy. Lay one fillet on top of the other, seasoned sides facing each other. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a glass-baking dish. Place a cutting board with 5-pound weight (cans will do) atop fish and refrigerate for at least 24 hours turning fish over once. To serve, unwrap fillets, remove skin, scrape off seasonings, rinse, and pat dry. Cut fillets on an angle into thin slices. Serve on party rye or crackers with horseradish, capers and lemon.
Crispy Duck Breasts
Preparation time: 30 minutes
4 duck breasts
Salt and pepper
Pat duck breasts dry with a paper towel. Make shallow crisscross cuts through the skin, but not so deep it cuts into the meat. Sprinkle both sides of duck with salt and pepper and put them skin-side-down in a large, cold, dry skillet. Cover with a splatter guard or cook uncovered. Turn heat to medium and set timer for 10-12 minutes. Once skin looks thin, golden and crispy, turn duck breasts over and cook another 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and let it rest 5 minutes. Then carve into diagonal slices.
Cosmo Cranberry Sauce
Preparation time: 30 minutes
1 (12-ounce) bag cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vodka
3 tbsp. orange-flavored liqueur or frozen orange juice mix
In a medium saucepan over moderate heat combine cranberries, sugar, and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil stirring often to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer; stir often until thickened and reduced to about 3 cups, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and stir in vodka and orange liqueur. Serve drizzled over duck.
Duck Fat Potatoes
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
1 1/2 lbs. waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold
3 tbsp. duck fat
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Slice unpeeled potatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. Rinse in cold water until water runs clear. Drain and pat very dry. Heat the duck fat on high, drop in potatoes, reduce to medium, and add 3/4 teaspoon salt; turn until coated with fat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook; turn occasionally until golden and tender for about 15-20 minutes; then stir garlic into cooked potatoes
Preparation time: 45 minutes
4 apples, cored and peeled
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup toasted pecans
Pinch of salt
6 tbsp. butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Chop apples and place in a buttered baking pan. Mix the remaining ingredients and scatter over the apples. Bake for about 30 minutes. Serve warm topped with cheddar cheese or ice cream.
Spiced Beaujolais Nouveau
Preparation time: 5 minutes
1 bottle Beaujolais
1/2 cup sugar
8 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
Bring ingredients to a boil in pan on stovetop. Remove from heat, discard cloves, and pour into wine glasses or clear glass mugs with a cinnamon stick and slice of apple.
November’s recipes are very flexible and adaptable to whatever ingredients you have.
Any fresh fish available will do. Cure it for at least 24 hours. The thinner the fish, the quicker it will cure. If you have fresh herbs, use them, they impart more flavor than dried herbs. For liquor and herb mixtures: I like cognac and thyme; vodka and rosemary; bourbon and sage; gin and dill. If you are worried about the fish and food borne illnesses, freeze it for 24 hours, then cure it.
If you can’t find frozen or fresh raw duck breast, use skin-on chicken breasts. While there is less fat, the potatoes will taste very good in the chicken fat.
The Cosmo Cranberry Sauce is a delicious side for Thanksgiving Day, my family asks for it every year!! It is also a tart condiment for a cheese and charcuterie tray and serves as a wonderful sauce for any wild game—and it freezes well. If you don’t have fresh cranberries, simply buy prepared whole cranberry sauce, omit the sugar from the recipe and add the vodka and orange liqueur.
The Potatoes in Duck Fat are a classic French preparation (Pommes de Terre Sarladaise) but they are also delicious roasted as well as sautéed. Just chop instead of slicing potatoes, toss in melted duck fat with salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so, until crispy and golden. And if you don’t feel like potatoes, consider other root vegetables… parsnips, sweet potatoes and carrots are sweet and smoky cooked in duck fat, as are winter squashes!
The Apple Crisp is very forgiving… if you don’t have nuts, just use oatmeal, butter, flour and sugar. If you don’t have apples, use pears or berries. I also love apple crisp topped with thin sliced sharp yellow cheddar cheese that is melted on top in the last 3-4 minutes of cooking. Ice cream, whipped cream or heavy cream is heavenly on warm apple crisp too!
I had spiced wine, for the first time, at the Christmas Markets in Germany and it was a warm welcome on a damp, rainy day! If you don’t have or cannot get the Nouveau Beaujolais, use a light, fruity red wine…I like Zinfandel or Pinot Noir, but don’t spend a lot of money on it. This is a fun drink for cooler nights!