Choosing Sides: This Delray Chef’s Thanksgiving Sides Are Way Better Than Green Bean Casserole

This web extra comes from our November 2017 issue. For more content like this, subscribe to the magazine


Ready to wow at Thanksgiving this year? Swap those traditional sides for these fresh, creative recipes from Max’s Harvest Executive Chef Blair Wilson (picture above, photo by Aaron Bristol).

Butterscotch Carrot Puree

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced 1-inch thick
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 orange, juiced and zested
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 ounce sea salt

Melt butter in a medium rondeau (shallow cooking pot) and add brown sugar. Stir to combine. Mixture should look like a broken caramel. Add carrots, orange juice and orange zest, and stir to coat. Add water and cinnamon, and season with salt. Cook the carrots for 15-20 minutes on medium heat or until they are extremely tender. Working in batches, add the carrots and remaining liquids to a blender. Blend until smooth and then pass through a fine sieve. Adjust seasoning as needed. Serve hot alongside roasted Brussels sprouts, sliced turkey or braised short ribs.

Harvest Apple Salad

  • 1 apple (Gala, Honeycrisp or Fuji), sliced thin on a mandoline
  • 1 ounce aged white cheddar, shaved with a peeler or sliced thin
  • 1/2 ounce white onion, sliced thin (same size as apple)
  • 2 slices maple cured bacon, sliced thin and cooked crispy
  • 1/2 head butter lettuce
  • 1/2 ounce mache or watercress
  • 1 ounce Apple Cider Vinaigrette, recipe attached
  • 1/4 ounce chives, sliced thin
  • Salt to taste

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

  • 3 cups apple cider (6 cups reduced to 3 cups)
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Add sliced apples, cheddar, lettuce and crispy bacon to a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt and apple cider vinaigrette. Toss to coat evenly. Then, working in layers with the ingredients, stack the salad on a plate. Use the lettuce first, then apple, cheddar, bacon and then repeat. Or you can neatly arrange them on a flat plate. Garnish with the sliced raw onion and mache, and sprinkle with chive.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts

(pictured above. Photo by Chef Blair Wilson.)

  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, cleaned and sliced in half
  • 1 ounce unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces Vermont Maple Syrup (Bourbon Barrel Aged is best)
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 2 ounces BBQ Pecans (recipe follows)
  • 1 ounce golden raisins
  • 2 ounces grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 ounce toasted sesame seeds (black and white)
  • 4 ounces mascarpone
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped

In a small bowl add mascarpone, orange juice, orange zest and 2 ounces of maple syrup. Combine thoroughly, being careful not to overwhip the mascarpone. Set aside and keep cold.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a very hot pan, heat the grapeseed oil until it begins to shimmer. Carefully add the Brussels sprouts cut-side down. Caramelize the Brussels sprouts on one side and toss to coat. Season with salt. Once the Brussels sprouts have color on all sides, add shallot, BBQ pecans, golden raisins, maple syrup and butter. Toss to coat evenly, then place in the oven for 10 minutes.

While Brussels sprouts are roasting, spread the mascarpone mixture on a plate or bowl. Remove the Brussels sprouts from the oven and spoon them with their liquid over the mascarpone. Garnish with sesame seeds and freshly chopped parsley and serve immediately.

BBQ Pecans

  • 1 pound pecan halves
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar

In a large bowl, whip egg whites until frothy. Add pecans and toss to coat. Add spices and toss to coat. Lay pecans evenly on sheet tray and roast in oven at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Chef Blair Wilson. Photo by Aaron Bristol.
Chef Blair Wilson. Photo by Aaron Bristol.

This web extra comes from our November 2017 issue. For more content like this, subscribe to the magazine