Recipe Swap: The Main Course

Welcome to North Shore Recipe Swap. Here are some recipes collected across the North Shore to try.

Across the North Shore, readers have been submitting their favorite Thanksgiving Day recipes as part of the North Shore Recipe Swap. Below, readers share their recipes for Thanksgiving Day main course.


 A Family Tradition

Provided by Don and Anita Armell, Salem Patch readers

Our  family "Thanksgiving recipe" is a tradition from my grandmother and I was told that it has roots in Colonial America when the threat of hard times was still fresh in people's minds.

We place a few kernels of corn (un-cooked popcorn is fine) beside each plate.  This serves as a reminder to us that times have not always been plentiful, and for many Americans and too many people around the world there is still a struggle for food.


Atlantic Salmon, Amaretto Butternut Risotto and Roasted Asparagus
Finished with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds, Buerre Blanc and Vermont Maple drizzle

Provided by: Serie of Finz Seafood and Grill, Salem

Butternut Risotto

2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cups Spanish onion finely diced

2 cups coarsely diced butternut squash

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

1 bay leaf

4 tablespoons butter

5 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup Amaretto


Melt butter in large pan, add onions, butternut squash and thyme, tossing frequently over medium heat for approximately 4-minutes or until onions are opaque, add Amaretto, Arborio rice, bay leaf, salt, pepper.

Add water in 1- 1/2 cup increments until water is absorbed before adding additional water. Continue to cook until rice is al dente or approximately 10 minutes.

Buerre Blanc Sauce

2 cups white wine Chardonnay (Chardonnay is suggested only)

1/2 cup sliced shallots

8 tablespoons butter diced

1/2 cup heavy cream

pinch of salt and pepper


In a heated pan add wine and shallots and reduce liquid by 3/4. Add cream and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until melted. Strain sauce into serving bowl to remove shallots and add salt pepper.

Spiced Pumpkin Seed

1 cup pumpkin seed

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 *Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.


Melt butter in pan on stove top and add all remaining ingredients. Toss until coated. Place on sheet pan and roast at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.

Atlantic Salmon 4 - 4oz portions


Add 1 tablespoon oil to large oven safe pan. Heat oil until pan is hot and place salmon flesh side down until golden brown. Flip salmon and place in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 4 minutes. (Longer for firmer fish). Add blanched asparagus to salmon pan an continue to cook for one minute.

*While preparing fish, boil pot of water sufficient for 16 stalks. When salmon is almost cooked, blanch asparagus.


4 dinner sized plates. Spoon risotto in equal portions on plates, place asparagus on the risotto, add salmon, ladle butter sauce over salmon and risotto, top with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds and then drizzle with Vermont maple syrup.


The Perfect Brine

Provided by the Lobster Shanty, Salem 

For us Turkey is absolutely the centerpiece of our holiday feast, after about 12 years of experimenting we've come up with a great brine for any bird. We used to buy fancy, fresh-killed never frozen birds, but we've discovered that, when money is tight and all you have is a frozen bird of questionable origin, this brine acts as a great equalizer of taste and juicy-ness. This simple method has never failed us. This recipe is for a small 12 to 15 pound turkey, but can be easily doubled for larger birds.

Tools you'll need: One big bucket or cooler that is water tight - it must either have room for ice, or fit in your 'fridge. One medium size stock pot for preparing the brine and then the usual kitchen tools of cutting board and knife.


1/2 gallon of orange juice
4 oz molasses
4 oz brown sugar
8 oz kosher salt
1 small bunch of sage
1 small bunch of rosemary
8 cloves of peeled garlic
1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange


Pour the OJ, salt, sugar & molasses into the stock pot and heat gently to dissolve. No need to boil. Cool slightly on counter top or in the 'fridge.

Meanwhile unwrap your turkey and remove that silly plastic timer if there is one (they often do not work, do NOT trust them!) and place into your water-tight brine bucket or cooler. If your turkey is slightly frozen this is ok, the brine will help it thaw a bit faster.

Then cut your citrus fruits into wedges, and very coarsely chop (or rip with your hands) the herbs - toss all of this into the brine along with the whole garlic cloves. At this point, you could get creative and add other flavorings that strike your fancy, in the past I've added black peppercorns and chunks of apple. Stir well and take a moment to enjoy the aroma.

Pour the brine over your turkey and then add just enough cold water to cover the bird. You can use ice as well, if you are keeping your cooler out of refrigeration.

Let the turkey sit in the brine for a minimum of 6 hours and up to two days as long as it is properly refrigerated.

When it comes time to put the bird in the oven I will take the fruits, garlic and herbs from the brine and put them in the cavity of the bird to add even more flavor and aroma while cooking.

Cook the bird as you normally would, it will be done when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees. 


Turkey On A Grill

Provided by Ray DePaula, Marblehead Patch reader


Any size turkey you want

A gas grill

Aluminum foil, and a pan

Salt, pepper and olive oil


I usually use the bottom of a broiler pan for any turkey that's over 14 pounds.

Rinse the turkey off, make sure the giblet bag is out of it, drain it. While it's draining, oil the bottom of the pan with oil. When the turkey is done, I usually put oil on the skin. Salt it to your liking.

Make up a salt and oil basting liquid. I use a 1/2 gallon bucket, about 1/3 cup of kosher salt and 1/4 cup of oil warm water helps melt the salt. Put some water from the mix you just made in the bottom of the pan.

You may need to make another mix. Put the turkey on a gas grill, and cook it covered with aluminum foil and close the grill cover. Keep an eye on it. I usually use both burners and keep them on low-med., depending on the size and how hot your grill runs. 

Again, keep checking on the turkey often until you know how fast the water evaporates, I usually have to refill the pan every 20-30min of so. After you have cooked it for a little while - maybe 2.5 hrs or so, you can take off the foil. To get the skin to crisp up and turn golden.

If you have a baster, every time you check to see if it has got water, baste it with the salt mixture, from the pan or the mix you made, what ever you prefer. I use both to keep the oil on the skin, and the flavor from the pan. If done right you will have a very moist turkey, and the flavors will be there.

The photo attached is last year's turkey that I did with my daughters help. It was a 16 pound bird and took about 3.5-4 hours to cook.



Ray DePaula November 24, 2011 at 03:53 AM
@ The Lobster Shanty, That brine sounds AWESOME, I can taste it by just reading it. I will be doing another turkey sometime in January/February. I am going to try the brine I can only imagine how much flavor and tenderness that will cause the bird to absorb. Thank you for sharing, I have been looking for a great tasting brine.


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