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By Request

By Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, November 22, 2000

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
John Bassett, volunteer cook at the River of Life Mission,
turns leftover Thanksgiving turkey into a full-flavored
Blackened Turkey Nicoise, a good entree salad for the
day after the calorie-laden holiday feast.

Gobble up leftovers
in spicy salad

John Bassett could be dealing with a whole lot of leftover turkey after tomorrow. Or he could have none. It's one of the complications of being cook in a kitchen dependent on donations of food.

Some days it's chicken cordon bleu, some days it's hot dogs and beans. "I work with what I have to work with," says Bassett, volunteer cook at River of Life Mission.

He's counting on a bit of turkey, though, as the mission typically serves up more than 200 roast birds on Thanksgiving Day. He came up with this recipe, for Blackened Turkey Nicoise, to deal with the expected bounty.

It's a distinctive salad, full of spice, and a good way to lighten up after a big holiday meal. It's worth a move from the mission into your kitchen.

The pre-Thanksgiving tradition in this column is to forego the usual reader-request format and instead anticipate something you'll be requesting tomorrow -- ways of using up your leftovers.

Bassett's salad is especially flexible because he so often must make do. He likes fresh asparagus, but will use canned, or substitute something else if he can't even find that. The recipe calls for his preferred mix of greens, but again, he'll work with what donations arrive at River of Life this week.

The one essential is his own mix of blackening spices (you can substitute a prepared blend from the grocery shelf).

Blackened Turkey Nicoise

2 cups butter lettuce
2 cups romaine
2 cups endive
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise
6 roma tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
1 bunch fresh asparagus, par-boiled
1/4 ounce black olives
1/2 pound cooked turkey meat
Olive oil spray
1/2 cup blackening spices
Olive oil for pan-frying
Parmesan or Romano cheese, freshly grated, for garnish
Honey-mustard or raspberry vinaigrette dressing
Papaya chutney or mango salsa, optional

Cut greens lengthwise into quarters, then crosscut into 1/2-inch strips. Toss together and arrange on platter. Place eggs and tomatoes as a border around greens. Add whole asparagus spears and olives.

To prepare turkey: Large pieces may be cut into strips; small pieces may be used as is. Coat turkey pieces with olive oil spray. Dust with blackening spices, or press the spices firmly into all sides of the meat for a deeper, spicier flavor.

Heat olive oil (1 tablespoon per 1/2 cup of turkey meat) in a hot pan. Flash turkey pieces in pan, searing all sides but being careful to avoid the peppery smoke.

Place turkey at center of the salad plate. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve dressing, chutney or salsa on the side. Serves 6-8.


Last week's request for a recipe for a Filipino dessert called Pichi-Pichi yielded responses from Gwen Dawson and Teresita Amore, both of whom cited the same cookbook, published in Metro Manila. Thanks to both for sharing.


"The Filipino Cookbook: The Maya Kitchen"
(Anvil Publishing Inc., Philippines, 1994)

2 cups grated cassava (see note)
2 cups sugar
2 cups pandan water (see note)
Grated coconut, for garnish

Combine all ingredients, except the coconut. Pour into 2 9-inch round pans. Steam for 45 minutes or until set. Cool. Form into balls, then roll in grated coconut.

Note: Cassava is a root vegetable, also called manioc and yuca, available in Asian and Latin markets. It is the base ingredient in tapioca. Pandan is related to lauhala, classified as a pandanus plant, and is widely available in Asian markets. It is sometimes called fragrant screwpine. The leaves are used throughout Asia as a flavoring. To make pandan water, boil the leaves from 4 pandan stalks in 2 cups of water until fragrant. Cool.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Food Stuffs: Morsels

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
By Request, Honolulu Star-Bulletin Food Section,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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