F&W's Best Holiday Side Dishes
Autumn Bread Salad Combine toasted Italian or French bread cubes, sautéed diced bacon and red onion, raw green cabbage, thinly sliced Fuyu persimmons and apples, baby spinach, pomegranate seeds and currants. Mix balsamic vinegar, apple cider, olive oil, mustard and a little cream and season with salt, pepper and allspice; toss with the bread salad.
Cauliflower Gratin Season cauliflower florets with salt and pepper and sauté in olive oil with garlic slivers until almost tender. Transfer to a buttered gratin dish. Top with buttered fresh bread crumbs mixed with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, chopped thyme and salt and pepper. Bake until the crumbs are browned and the cauliflower is tender. —Kathleen Weber and Kay Baumhefner at Della Fattoria in Petaluma, California
New Flavors to Try If you like rye bread, try the deeply flavorful German loaves that are showing up on bakery shelves around the country. Pearl Bakery in Portland, Oregon, has introduced Vollkornbrot, a dense seeded sour rye; Clear Flour Bread, in Brookline, Massachusetts, is also making Vollkornbrot, as well as a lush fig-studded rye. —Kristin Donnelly
Sweet Potatoes with Salsa Verde Sauté diced, peeled sweet potatoes in olive oil until tender; season with salt and pepper. Make a salsa verde with chopped parsley, jalapeño and garlic; ground cumin; salt and olive oil. Toss the cooked sweet potatoes with the salsa verde and pitted black olives.
Spanish Fingerling Potatoes Boil fingerling potatoes, then cut them in half and sauté in olive oil until golden. Sauté diced onions until caramelized. Add diced tomatoes and simmer until their liquid has evaporated. Add red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, chopped oregano, cayenne, ground cumin and salt. Toss the sautéed potatoes with the tomato mixture and Spanish smoked paprika and serve with sliced scallions. —Andy Nusser at New York City’s Casa Mono
New Flavors to Try If you like Yukon Gold potatoes, try German Butterballs. Their luscious yellow flesh and adorable name might make them the next hot potato. Chefs from Rick Bayless of Chicago’s Topolobampo to Loretta Keller of Coco500 in San Francisco are featuring these little heirlooms, which range from golf ball to fist-size. —K.D.
Couscous with Pumpkin Pie Spices Brush delicata squash rings with butter, sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper and roast until tender. Simmer cinnamon, allspice, clove, nutmeg, cardamom and brown sugar in vegetable stock, then pour over couscous; cover and let stand until tender. Cut the squash into large dice and toss with the couscous and parsley.
Bulgur with Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage Soak bulgur in hot water until softened; drain well. Fry bacon slices until crisp then crumble. In the rendered bacon fat, sauté shredded red cabbage with chopped onion and brown sugar and apple cider vinegar until the cabbage is softened, but still slightly crunchy. Add the bulgur and bacon and season with salt and pepper. —Tory Miller at L’ Etoile in Madison, Wisconsin
New Flavors to Try If you like couscous, try barley couscous. It’s nuttier and has a grainier texture than the North African staple made from semolina. The couscous is available at New York City’s Kalustyan’s (kalustyans.com). If you like brown rice, try the new Bengali brown Kalijira rice from Lotus Foods, which has a surprisingly delicate texture and taste (lotusfoods.com). —K.D.
Wilted Kale with White Beans and Sausage Sauté sliced spicy andouille sausage, then add chopped kale and cook just until it’s wilted. Coarsely mash cooked white beans with lots of butter. Stir in the andouille slices and kale and season with salt and pepper.
Broccoli Rabe with Almonds and Orange Vinaigrette Steam chopped broccoli rabe in a little white wine until tender and the wine has evaporated. Add olive oil and stir until the broccoli rabe is coated. Top the broccoli rabe with chopped marcona almonds, orange sections and a simple dressing made with fresh orange juice, finely grated orange zest, olive oil, Dijon mustard and a pinch of grated nutmeg. —Edward Lee at 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky
New Flavors to Try If you like kale, try cavalo nero (a.k.a. black or dino kale). Boulette’s Larder, in the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco, reports that the bumpy leaves with a deep, dark green hue have become a favorite among Bay Area foodies. That’s because it’s more flavorful and sturdier than spinach but more tender than green kale. —K.D.
Koren’s Famous Brussels Sprouts and Parsnips Roast halved brussels sprouts in olive oil in a 375° oven just until tender; repeat the process with thick parsnip sticks. Fry bacon strips until crisp and coarsely crumble. Sauté the brussels sprouts and parsnips in the rendered bacon fat. Stir in the crumbled bacon and enough aged balsamic vinegar to coat; season with salt and pepper.
Sliced Fennel Salad with Toasted Walnuts Toss thinly sliced fennel with watercress, halved red grapes, toasted walnuts, shaved pecorino cheese and chopped tarragon. Make a vinaigrette with fresh lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper and toss well with the fennel and walnut salad. —Koren Grieveson at Chicago’s Avec
New Flavors to Try If you like baby vegetables, try the demi carrots, turnips, fennel and onions that are showing up in restaurants now. Chef’s Garden in Huron, Ohio, sells the new size: They’ re about 50 percent larger than the babies. If you like brussels sprouts, try the Chef’s Garden’s new red brussels sprouts, which taste like the green ones but have a lovely brick color. —K.D.