While I roast a turkey every Thanksgiving, and include a thin slice or two on my plate the night of, I'm really looking forward to the turkey sandwiches to come the following week. For the feast, I give side dishes most of my appetite, as my family is not above having two types of stuffing (my mother's potato one and my bread version), bourbon cider gravy, another potato dish, roasted squash of some sort, plus root vegetables, and something green.
The list goes on, and can vary, like the year my grandmother requested Ina Garten's creamed spinach gratin. But, besides the two stuffings, the other constant is a generous salad. Against all the long-cooked, caramelized, creamy dishes, I look for a fresh counterpoint. Here, it's warm beets nudged up beside a decisively vinegared tangle of brassicas and chard. Twangy and sharp, the greens have gratifying chew, especially when topped with fried shallots like a green bean casserole.
This salad is enjoyable throughout the autumn, not only on Thanksgiving. It can be bulked up with crumbled feta or shaved Pecorino, or the shallots replaced (or combined with) toasted hazelnuts. For the beets, I lean towards ones about the size of a pool ball. The Brussels sprouts can be shredded with the slicing blade of a food processor or by hand.
Servings: 6 to 8
11/2 pounds beets, trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 unpeeled garlic cloves
Shallots, salad and dressing
1/2 cup neutral oil, such as vegetable
2 large shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepperd
Half a bunch chard, tough stems trimmed
Half a bunch Tuscan kale, tough stems trimmed
30 grams (8 ounces) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded
1 lemon, finely zested and juiced
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar, divided
1 clementine or small orange, finely zest and juiced
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
A handful of peppery microgreens, such as radish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425F.
In a roasting or baking dish large enough to give the beets space, coat them lightly in olive oil. Season lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add garlic cloves, then cover with foil and roast in the hot oven until barely tender, around 35 to 40 minutes for small beets. Set aside until cool enough to handle. The beets can be roasted up to two days ahead, cooled and stored covered in the fridge. Rewarm in a low oven, still covered, before peeling. Keep the roasted garlic aside for the salad dressing.
While the beets are cooking and cooling, get the shallots crisped and the salad done. Pour the oil into a small saucepan and add the shallots. Set the saucepan over medium heat and fry, stirring gently and keeping the shallots submerged in the oil, until medium golden and crisp, about 10 minutes (they’ll continue to darken as they cool). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to a plate lined with paper towels. Season immediately with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Resist the urge to use the shallot oil on the beets, as it turns out quite sweet and heavy; instead keep it for fried rice or something similar.
Working in batches, stack and roll the chard and kale leaves into tight, cigar-like bundles. With a sharp knife, cut the leaves thinly, into chiffonade. In a large bowl, toss the chard and kale with the shredded Brussels sprouts, the lemon zest and juice, and 11/2 tablespoons of Champagne vinegar. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then, with clean hands, turn the leaves, massaging them gently. This will soften the leaves a bit, and allow the juice and vinegar to get into the greens. Check for seasoning and set aside.
To make the dressing, peel the roasted garlic, place it in a liquid measuring cup and mash with the back of a fork. Whisk together the clementine zest, juice, honey, 1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar,and olive oil until the mixture has emulsified. Season and check for balance; this dressing is meant to complement the beets and balance the intensity of the greens. It should lean towards rich and sweet, with just enough vinegar for it to to be noticed.
While still warm, peel the beets, either with a sharp peeler or rub the skins away with paper towel. Cut them into sixths or eighths, depending on size. Drizzle the beets with half the dressing, and arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle the greens with half the remaining dressing, and mound onto the platter. Tuck in the microgreens, if using. Top with fried shallots and the remaining dressing. Serve immediately.