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3 Chefs From The Palm Beaches Share Their Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes And Traditions

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a chef on Thanksgiving? Do they prepare their meals like they would at their restaurants? What traditions do they hold near and dear to their hearts?

We were curious about these questions, and decided to ask three local chefs in the Palm Beaches how they like to celebrate the holiday. They also shared their favorite Thanksgiving recipes with us so that you can cook like a true professional this year.

Keep reading to find out why Lee Morris cooks salmon instead of turkey, how to make Clay Conley’s apple streusel and what Marco Barbisotti’s favorite things are about the fall season.

Main Course: Mustard-Crusted Cedar Plank Salmon

Photo courtesy LibbyVision.com

Recipe courtesy of Lee Morris, 1000 NORTH

“As a kid, we did the traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey, both at my house and at my grandmother’s in New Jersey. We spent a lot of time on the coast, so our stuffing was oyster stuffing. My dad, who was the family foodie, would make it using either cornbread or brioche,” says Morris. “When the family moved to South Florida in 1993, Dad decided to lighten things up. He started cooking cedar plank salmon on the grill for Thanksgiving. So, that became the family tradition. At Thanksgiving, the main dish is still salmon at our house.”

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

2 tablespoons Grey Poupon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons local honey (run under hot water to make it easier to work with)

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

1 salmon side with skin, trim the tail piece about 6 inches from the bottom and save for lunch on another day (that piece overcooks and burns easily, and should not be used for this dish)

1 cedar grilling plank

Soak the plank in water for one to two hours before grilling. Keep it immersed with a plate or something heavy. Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal grill. Stir together the mustards, honey, rosemary and zest. Season the flesh of the salmon liberally with salt and pepper.

Using a rubber spatula, spread the mustard mixture on the flesh side of the salmon, and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Put the salmon skin-side down on the plank. Grill covered with lid down until the salmon is cooked through and the edges are browned (about 13 to 15 minutes).

Note: If the plank catches fire, do not panic. Let the fire extinguish on the grill with the vents closed.

Use a spatula to carefully remove the salmon from the grill. Keep the salmon on the plank. Let the salmon stand on the plank for five minutes before serving. Dish serves well with a glass of white wine.

Side Dish: Sweet Potato With Caramelized Apple

Photo courtesy LibbyVision.com

Recipe courtesy of Marco Barbisotti, Sant Ambroeus

“I really love this time of the year when the season changes and colors turn to fall,” says Barbisotti. “Especially here in the U.S., it’s ideal for spending some time with your family picking pumpkins and having a wonderful dinner together.”

8 sweet potatoes

4 apples

250 grams butter

Juice from 1 orange

Salt and pepper

Five-spice at your taste

Cook the potato unpeeled in the oven until it’s soft, then cut in half and scoop out the potato with the spoon. Put the potato in the food processor with butter, some orange juice, salt, pepper and the five-spice and work until smooth. Peel and core the apple and cut into eighths, then sauté in the butter and sprinkle with five-spice. Top the sweet potato purée with the buttered apple and enjoy. 

Dessert: Grandma Millie’s Apple Streusel

Photo courtesy of Buccan

Recipe courtesy of Clay Conley, Buccan

“We had a large apple orchard at our house in Maine as a kid,” says Conley. “I remember my grandma, Millie, making some version of this and letting me ‘pinch’ the streusel on top and it brings me back fond memories of her.”

Crust

1 homemade or store-bought pie crust

Blind bake the crust in a 350-375 F oven. It is best to use immediately when the dough is still hot.

Streusel

1 cup flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon corn meal

6 tablespoons butter, softened 

Combine all ingredients with a fork until crumbly texture is achieved.

Filling

2 tablespoons butter

2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Zest of 1 orange

Pinch of salt

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt butter in a large sauté pan. Add apples, sugar, cinnamon, zest and salt, and sauté until soft. Add the cranberries and continue to cook until apples just start to break down. Remove apples with a slotted spoon, leaving juice behind. Add the cream and reduce until thick and nape. Combine with apples.

In warm, partially baked pie crust spread apple filling in shell. Top with pinches of the streusel and then bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.

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More From Publisher

Jupiter Restaurants Serving Thanksgiving Dinners In 2015

Why spend hours prepping Thanksgiving dinner when plenty of Jupiter restaurants are serving up decadent spreads sure to please everyone on the guest list?

That's right. You can forget about whipping up three potato dishes and getting through the pile of dishes on your counter. We've rounded up area eateries that will do the dirty work for you, so you can enjoy your feast in peace—and spend more time with those who matter.  

Check out the Thanksgiving dinner options, below: 

Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa 
Guests who decide to dine at the beachfront resort will get to choose between two Thanksgiving feasts. The Thanksgiving Buffet, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside the Grand Ballroom, will feature carving stations, a raw bar, antipasto station, fresh fruit and a welcome glass of champagne. Then there is Sinclair’s Thanksgiving dinner inside Sinclair’s Ocean Grill, taking place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dinner options include roasted duck, lemon rosemary turkey, leg of lamb and Chilean sea bass. For reservations, please call 561.745.7129. 
5 N. A1A, Jupiter

Hampton Forks Kitchen & Table
Looking to cater your Thanksgiving feast? Chef Chris Marshall will prepare your dinner for pick up or delivery. Order by Friday, Nov. 20, and pick up dinner Wednesday, Nov. 25, or on Thanksgiving Day. Local delivery is available on Wednesday, Nov. 25, for orders over $100. Visit the website to see the menu, and call 631.276.1197 to place your order.
185 E. Indiantown Road #123, Jupiter

Vic & Angelo’s
Executive chef Alain Zimmer will be cooking up a roasted turkey dinner with Parmesan mashed potatoes, sweet yams, homemade stuffing, cran-raspberry sauce and crispy Brussels sprouts. Guests can also choose to dine from the regular dinner menu, which features pasta, seafood and pizza. And don’t worry; there will be dessert—whether that be a slice of pumpkin pie or a sorbet-infused martini. Thanksgiving Day hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; $27.95 per person. Reservations are recommended. 
4520 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens

Spoto’s Oyster Bar
Enjoy a roasted turkey dinner complete with turkey sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes and garlic green beans. If turkey’s not exactly your thing, enjoy crab cakes, felt mignon, grouper, lobster or even Alaskan king crab. Reservations are recommended. Call 561.776.9448.
4560 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens

III Forks
Enjoy a decadent four-course dinner featuring soup, salad, and your choice of turkey, beef tenderloin or Atlantic salmon, with sides that include roasted autumn vegetables, whipped potatoes and coconut-infused jasmine rice. Finish off the meal on a sweet note by visiting the dessert table to indulge in a variety of assorted treats. Dinner is $47 for adults, $17 for children under 12. 
4645 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens 

The Capital Grille 
Feast on slow-roasted turkey with Brioche stuffing while enjoying a side of French green beans and mashed potatoes. Pumpkin cheesecake awaits you for dessert. 
11365 Legacy Ave., Palm Beach Gardens ​


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III Forks Executive Chef Tommy Nevill Talks Thanksgiving Dishes, Traditions And More

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful—and full. One of America's favorite holidays, Thanksgiving is based in traditions revolving around food and dining with the people you love. 

We recently spoke with III Forks executive chef Tommy Nevill about his favorite Thanksgiving traditions. Read the highlights from our conversation below. 

What's your number one tip for someone who has never cooked a Thanksgiving meal before? 

It’s all about timing. Create your menu a week in advance, make notes on the cooking time for each menu item and make sure you prepare enough for your guest list. I suggest preparing several items ahead of time and refrigerating in an airtight bag or serving dish. Timing is everything—make sure that all of your selected dishes and the turkey are ready at the same time.

How does III Forks prepare for the Thanksgiving rush and holiday season? 

We start our prep work three days in advance and cook 600 pounds of turkey. We start at 4 a.m. prepping the beef tenderloin and turkey, preparing the dressing and roasting the autumn vegetables. We also prep our signature Vermont maple-glazed Atlantic salmon, with coconut-infused jasmine rice. We shuck pounds of fresh sweet corn from the cob, sourced from local farms, and freeze it five days before Thanksgiving, and prepare the creamed corn in the morning.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? 

A hearty, fresh sweet potato side dish and pumpkin hash.

What is your most cherished childhood memory of Thanksgiving? 

Growing up, we prepared Thanksgiving dinner as a family. Cooking alongside my grandmother, who was quite accomplished in the kitchen, is a special memory.

What's your favorite part of Thanksgiving as an adult?  

Since I'm the executive chef at III Forks, I supervise our kitchen staff as we prepare for several hundred dining guests. Seeing families gather for dinner at III Forks during the holiday that celebrates a grateful heart is now my favorite part of Thanksgiving. 

Would you rather watch football, the Macy’s Day Parade or both?

I love watching the Macy’s Day Parade in the morning, and then if it is possible to schedule, I catch some of the afternoon football games.  

What's the best alcoholic drink to serve with turkey? 

As a sommelier and chef, I lean towards wine selections that pair and enhance the menu selections.  My personal favorite is Knights Bridge Chardonnay Pont de Chevalier, 2013-2015. 

How does III Forks accommodate special dietary needs for Thanksgiving? 

We offer a prix fixe four-course dinner on Thanksgiving with several selections to choose from, so we have something for everyone: turkey, beef tenderloin and salmon. Diners are also welcome to order off of the regular menu, and we provide vegan menu choices and gluten free upon request.

Apple pie or pumpkin pie?

I’m from the South, and a house-made flaky, crusted apple pie has my vote—hands down. III Forks offers a choice of three desserts on our menu, and the traditional pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream and caramel is a stand out.

For more information on III Forks and its Thanksgiving specials, visit 3forks.com.

4645 PGA Blvd., Building M, Palm Beach Gardens; 561.603.1975; 3forks.com

Photos courtesy of III Forks