Star Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

Five Naples chefs share their favorite holiday trimmings

Your Thanksgiving guests may come for the turkey, but they’ll stay for the side dishes. They present the best place for the holiday cook to show off his or her creativity. We asked five Naples chefs for their favorite holiday trimmings and caught a glimpse into what they prepare at home.

Roasted Organic Carrots by Chef Andrew Wicklander, photo by Vanessa Rogers
Photo by Vanessa Rogers

Roasted Organic Carrots with Thyme, Garlic, and Honey

Chef Andrew Wicklander, The Continental

“Tricolor carrots are peeled, quartered, or halved, depending on the size,” says Wicklander. “Sauté them lightly in extra-virgin olive oil along with fresh thyme, garlic, salt, and a bay leaf. Then finish them in the oven.” When the carrots are tender, remove the thyme and bay leaf. Toss with honey, fresh thyme, and a fresh bay leaf before plating, and top off with sea salt and grated Pecorino Romano.

Potato Gratin by Darren Veilleux, Sails Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Sails Restaurant

Potato Gratin

Chef de Cuisine Darren Veilleux, Sails Restaurant

Veilleux’s French-Canadian heritage is reflected in this twist on a classic potato gratin, developed with Sails’ co-owner Corinne Ryan. He uses a Japanese sheeter to thinly slice potatoes and turnips, then layers them with julienned onions. The casserole is lightly drizzled with beef fat, which creates a crisp topping as it slowly cooks on the stovetop. Veilleux omits the traditional cheese in the recipe, making the finished dish dairy-free and featherlight.

Sweet Potato Soufflé by Chef Everett Fromm, photo by Ella Creations
Photo by Ella Creations

Sweet Potato Soufflé

Chef Everett Fromm, Hogfish Harry’s

“I developed this holiday side dish from my mother, as she has made it for special occasions for more than 20 years,” says Fromm. “It’s a blend of sweet potatoes with egg whites, maple syrup, vanilla bean, and butter topped with a brown sugar pecan streusel. The sweet potatoes are fluffed in a food processor, then baked in the oven. Caution: It will go quickly, so make twice as much as you think you’ll need.”

Walnut Stuffing by Fuse Global Cuisine, photo by Monika Czechowska
Photo by Monika Czechowska

Walnut Stuffing

Chef Greg Scarlatos, Fuse Global Cuisine

This recipe is a variation ona favorite made at home by Scarlatos’ mom. He first cubes French bread into 1-inch squares and toasts them in the oven. Next, he sautés onions, carrots, and celery; deglazes the pot with white wine; and adds bay leaves, fresh sage, thyme, garlic, toasted walnuts, and heavy cream. He then folds in the bread cubes, seasons with salt and pepper, and bakes in a casserole dish until golden brown.

Caramelized Butternut Squash by Chef Alexander Bernard, pphoto by Michael Caronchi
Photo by Michael Caronchi

Caramelized Butternut Squash

Chef Alexander Bernard, Alexander’s Restaurant

“I taught this tasty but easy recipe to our son for Thanksgiving years ago,” says Bernard, “and he’s been using it ever since. You take half-inch slices of the long part of butternut squash and place them in a pan with water, unsalted butter, and sugar. Just reduce until the squash is cooked and caramelized. The beauty of the dish is its simplicity, and the sweetness is a great complement to the richness of turkey or goose.”

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