How to make Thanksgiving Leftovers Sing

Have you ever sat down to Thanksgiving dinner wondering if there was someone coming who you didn’t know about? Because from the amount of food on this table, you could probably feed another half dozen people.

 This delicious dish is made of seared scallops and Thanksgiving leftovers.

This delicious dish is made of seared scallops and Thanksgiving leftovers.

But that’s okay because…. Leftovers. Right?


Who doesn’t love that sandwich at 10 pm on Thanksgiving night or the yams you’re still eating into the middle of December?

We certainly do. But the same tired leftovers over and over again get old. How many times can you break out that foil covered bird from the fridge?

So after T-Day, why not use those leftovers to create something that rivals the original meal? This month, we got up with Chef Kyle Baddorf, chef at Parker’s Garage, right down the street from the Whale. Kyle got creative and showed us some ways to take those Thanksgiving leftovers and mix them with some local seafood for a fantastic second time around with some accents of the LBI Region. After all, this is a four-day holiday and chances are, you’ll be cooking with family or friends again before work starts on Monday.


 Chef Kyle Baddorf of Parker’s Garage. Photo: Ann Coen.

Chef Kyle Baddorf of Parker’s Garage. Photo: Ann Coen.

The key to this dish is utilizing all those yummy leftovers. It's pretty flexible, based on what you have leftover. There’s no reason you couldn’t throw a sweet potato puree or roasted corn on this plate. But for our purposes, Kyle chose:

  •  Fresh Barnegat Light Scallops (available in our Mud City Crab House fish case)

  • Cranberry Sauce

  • Turkey skins

  • Acorn squash

  • Scallop jus

“The first step is to cook the acorn squash. It takes the longest,” says Baddorf, “We’re going to season it with salt and a little Five Spice. It’s a very fall-forward spice blend. It takes about 15 minutes to bake. Definitely keep an eye on it. And while that’s in there, you can also make a squash puree, kind of play off the two different textures. You have plenty of squash left over from Thanksgiving.”

The puree is made by cooking down squash, garlic, onions and stock and blending until smooth.

“For making the scallop jus, we save all the abductor muscles of the scallops. It’s part of our philosophy of waste not/want not. We brown those with butter, add a little stock, braise with brandy and cook it all down. It makes a nice, shellfishy, thick sauce.”

The holiday addition to this plate is the turkey skin.



 As Baddorf notes, it doesn’t so much matter how it looks, it’s going to taste good. (But he plates it up nice either way.)

As Baddorf notes, it doesn’t so much matter how it looks, it’s going to taste good. (But he plates it up nice either way.)

 

“After Thanksgiving dinner, leave the turkey skin in your oven over night to dry it out. You can break it into different pieces of the sizes you want. And then you’re just going to deep fry them,” Chef Kyle explains.

Scallops are the one seafood that we get consistently locally caught for at all of our restaurants. They can always be bought fresh because they come into Barnegat Light year round. And they’re a nice switch after the turkey. Figure on about five scallops per person.

“When the squash is tender to the touch, it’s ready for the plate. Once it’s done, you can pan sear the scallops with a little bit of salt. A little smoke on the oil means it’s ready to cook. And then you set ‘em and forget ‘em. You don’t want to shake your pan or anything. Give them a good sear on one side and then you can kill the heat and let the second side cook in radiant heat. Like any protein, I like to rest it so you don’t get any juice leaching out onto the rest of your plate.”


 Searing those local scallops.

Searing those local scallops.

Because this is Parker’s Garage, Chef Kyle plates it with a bit of finesse. But as he reminds us, “It doesn’t matter what it looks like because it’s going to taste good.”

It’s a fantastic way to rethink your leftovers.

The Tide Table Restaurant Group would like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. We have so much to be grateful for.

Eric Magaziner