Thanksgiving Without a Net

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Eventually I’m done. My one Thanksgiving rule is that no matter how many markets in the neighborhood might remain open, I don’t venture out on Thursday.

As you might guess, this multicultural collection of ingredients lends itself best to a progression of small dishes, or what will amount to a day’s worth of grazing. The sequence of events is rather simple: cook, eat, relax, and repeat. Though we are only a family of two, my wife and I extend an open invitation to a handful of our single friends, those in the restaurant business who might have to work that day or who weren’t able to be with their own families. The laid-back pace of the meal is very conducive to guests dropping in throughout the day, and these multiple courses are typically punctuated by a movie, a quick Scrabble match, or just good conversation.

So in the end, how does it all come together? That last-minute purchase, the oysters, might kick things off, alongside the prawns, barely cooked and dressed with mint, cilantro, lime, and a splash of nam pla. Perhaps the tuna gets a quick sear and a bath of olive oil, lemon, and piment d’espelette. By now the duck would be in the oven, and soon the bread is set out with the za’atar, some olives, and charcuterie. It’s time for the shishito peppers too, quickly fried just until blistered, then drained and tossed with coarse sea salt. The sweet potato would have been roasted the night before and puréed with the vanilla and cream; I’d use the mixture as a filling for ravioli, finishing the dish with brown butter, sage, and a bit of crumbled fennel sausage. At the same time, those impeccable eggs might be poached and laid into a nest of arugula and lardons.

Later comes the main event: the duck. As the bird is resting, I roast the fingerlings in its rendered fat; meanwhile the rapini simmers slowly in olive oil with thinly sliced onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Eventually we have a progression of cheeses, fruits, and chestnuts, and then dessert: the crisp Mutsu apples baked into a melting tarte tatin, plus whatever little sweets I collected the day before. As we sip a digestif, I might also be whipping up frothy cups of hot chocolate, scented with almond and dried chili. Finally, in the wee hours, in lieu of a turkey sandwich (the typical byproduct of the traditional Thanksgiving feast), I’ll throw together a rustic pizza, topped with bits of leftover duck, peppers, and homemade cheese.

And there will be plenty more leftovers for days and days to come—because after all, that’s what Thanksgiving is about.

Bangkok Grocery 104 Mosco St., New York City (212-349-1979;
Kalustyan’s 123 Lexington Ave., New York City (212-685-3451;
Katagiri 224 E. 59th St., New York City (212-755-3566;

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