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Oct 29, 2018 11:13 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

A Face Lift For Traditional Thanksgiving Sides

Haricot vert with tomato Concasse.
Oct 29, 2018 1:51 PM

Most likely, you are already planning the menu for Thanksgiving dinner. The typical side dishes are mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and candied sweet potatoes. With these three classics in mind, I’ve taken the liberty of giving mashed potatoes, green beans and sweet potatoes a “face-lift” for 2018.For example, serve blanched haricots verts with tomato concasse instead of a green bean casserole made with cream of mushroom soup, green beans and crumbled french fried onion rings on top.

Why not make half the amount of mashed potatoes and add mashed cauliflower “potatoes” to the menu? The mashed cauliflower is tasty on its own but even better with turkey gravy.

Savory roasted sweet potatoes caramelize in the oven without extra sugar. The garlic and fresh herbs add a savory counterpoint to balance the sweet potatoes. It is so delicious you won’t miss the butter and sugar!

Bon appétit!

Haricots Verts With Tomato Concasse(Serves six)2 pounds green beans washed (haricots verts preferred)

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

About ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, or more to taste

1½ teaspoons basil or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Two 14.5-ounce cans Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes or 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to tasteTo prepare:In a large pot of boiling water over high heat, add beans by the handfuls and blanch until they are crunch tender, about three to four minutes; the cooking time depends on the amount of beans. They should be underdone. Immediately drain off the water and plunge the beans into very cold water to stop the cooking process and drain well. Transfer the beans to a cutting board and cut off the stem ends. Place in a parchment paper-lined microwave-proof dish. Cover and set aside.

For the tomato concasse: In a skillet over moderate high heat, coat the bottom with olive oil and add the onions. Saute until the onions begin to soften, about two minutes. Add garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and basil, and cook until the onions are aromatic, soft and translucent, about four minutes. Drain the tomatoes, reserving the juices, and stir tomatoes into the onions. Bring to a simmer; cook, stirring often, about five minutes. For fresh tomatoes, cook until tomatoes are tender but still hold their shape. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Can be done ahead and refrigerated.To reheat and serve: Spoon the tomato concasse over the beans, cover the dish, and let come to room temperature. Before serving, re-heat the beans in the microwave on high until they are hot and tender, about two to three minutes. The reheating time will depend on the amount and temperature of the beans.Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes(Serves 6)1 large head cauliflower, washed and separated into florets, about 6 to 7 cups

1/2 to 3/4 cup half-and-half or heavy cream

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

About 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Sweet Hungarian paprika for dustingTo prepare:In the bowl of the food processor fitted with a stainless steel blade, working in batches, add cauliflower florets and process until evenly chopped. Transfer the chopped cauliflower to a large microwave-proof bowl with a lid. Add a splash of water, salt and pepper, and microwave for five minutes. Drain off excess liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the dish. Add half-and-half or cream, and one tablespoon of butter. Continue cooking and stirring every four to five minutes until very tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes in total. Add the remaining butter, taste and adjust the seasonings.

Note: Cauliflower is very hard to overcook, but it’s important to be tender. Can be done ahead, refrigerated and reheated in the microwave until hot just before serving.Savory Sweet Potatoes(Serves 6)8 to 9 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and peeled

3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 to 8 fresh sage leaves cut into thin slivers

Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme

Malden salt for sprinklingTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper. Peel sweet potatoes (or keep skin on) and slice the sweet potatoes into even half-inch slices. Immediately transfer to a bowl and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic on the potatoes; toss until all the slices are coated with oil and well seasoned. Transfer the slices to prepared baking sheets and arrange in a single layer. Bake about seven to eight minutes. Turn slices over, scatter herbs over the potatoes, and continue roasting until they are fork tender and caramelized around the edges. Transfer the potatoes to a serving dish and pass extra salt at the table.

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