Thanksgiving with Celebrity Chef Todd English
By Fabiana Santana
Nothing says Thanksgiving like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Well, nothing, that is, except turkey and a good meal! So the team behind the parade decided to combine the two and create “The Macy’s Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook.” Filled with pages of stunning photographs and entertaining tips, the cookbook features more than 80 recipes from Macy’s Culinary Council’s team of celebrity chefs including Todd English and Michelle Bernstein. In preparation for the upcoming holiday, we caught up with Todd to talk turkey, leftovers and his fondest Thanksgiving memories.
What is your first /favorite Thanksgiving memory?
I grew up in Atlanta, but my mother’s family are off the boat Italians from Calabria who came to NY and landed in the Bronx. We always used to have an Italian/Southern style Thanksgiving cooked by my mother and my grandmother. We’d start out around 1pm with a huge Antipasto platter, then the real feast would ensue around 2:30/3 – Italian lasagna AND southern-style Thanksgiving turkey. My mother’s lasagna is absolutely my favorite dish she makes. It’s all homemade from scratch with her legendary Ragu sauce- she’ll never give out her recipe though, even I haven’t been able to figure out the right way to make it after all these years! As if that wasn’t enough food, there was also always a southern flavored slow roasted turkey with cornbread sausage stuffing, and plenty of red wine, prosecco, sambuca, and grappa.
Fall is my favorite season, so you name it and I’m cooking it! I love everything about the fall harvest… all of the delicious root vegetables- sweet potatoes, carrots, beets- I’m really into juicing these vegetables and using the fresh juice in my risottos, like my Beet Risotto, and my Double-Carrot risotto.
What is your recommendation for turkey leftovers for the days after Thanksgiving?
Turkey Tacos with cranberry chutney salsa.
Where/how will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this year?
I’ll be cooking with my kids! Not sure if we’re going to do the Italian/Southern Thanksgiving this year or not, but there will definitely be my cornbread and sausage stuffing on the table!
Do you have a favorite part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
My favorite part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the balloons. They’re great, and they get more amazing every year.
Cranberry Chutney Salsa Recipe
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup mixed dried fruit, such as currants or golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger (from one 1 1/2-inch piece)
- 10 whole cloves, crushed with the side of a knife (1/2 teaspoon)
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- 12 ounces leftover cranberry sauce (3 1/2 cups)
Bring vinegar, sugar, onion, dried fruit, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon sticks to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add cranberry sauce. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer gently until cranberries are tender and start to burst, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and let stand until cooled. Refrigerate until chilled if desired.
Grilled and Chilled Shrimp and Crab Recipe
recipe by Todd English
“Instead of the usual boiled shrimp or crab cocktail, I like to marinate and grill the seafood. The crab claws will be cooked when you buy them, so you’re not really cooking them on the grill. You’re just infusing them with the marinade over heat and adding a bit of smoky char and flavor.“
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 8 fresh basil leaves, julienned
- 4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, chopped
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 18 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 12 cooked snow crab claws
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cocktail sauce for serving
To marinate the seafood: In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, basil, parsley, paprika, and olive oil. Add the shrimp and crab and toss to coat the shellfish evenly. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
To grill the seafood: At least 2 to 3 hours or as many as 12 hours before serving, preheat a gas grill to medium high, or light a fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn just until the coals are covered with gray ash and very hot.
Remove the shellfish from the marinade, and season with salt and pepper. Set the shrimp and crab claws on the grill grate. Cook the shrimp, turning once, until pink, curled, and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Grill the crab claws, turning once, until heated through, about 1 minute per side.
To chill and serve: Transfer the shrimp and crab to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve chilled with your favorite cocktail sauce. You can either divide the seafood among individual serving plates and garnish each plate with a dollop of cocktail sauce, or you can arrange the seafood on a platter and pass the cocktail sauce at the table.
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