Cold Plates

If you want to get some practice in at making cold plates, American Thanksgiving this Thursday gives you the opportunity. The essential ingredients are there: turkey, ham, dressing and potatoes.

cold plate photo d stewartAfter Canadian Thanksgiving last month, I made my best ever cold plates. I had several practice runs, and was quite proud of them. But then I came across Lord Byron’s Kitchen and saw his!

I didn’t follow his recipes exactly, but got a sense of the ingredients and presentation from them. So here is how I made my cold plates.

Parts of a Cold Plate

  • Sliced turkey or chicken, ham, roast beef
  • Dressing (stuffing)
  • 3 potato salads
  • Macaroni salad
  • Coleslaw
  • Lettuce and tomato
  • Dinner roll
  • Cranberry sauce and/or mustard sauce or pickle

Not just any old potato salad will do for a Newfoundland cold plate. For everything else, you can use what you like. But the different coloured potato salads are the defining points.

Boil peeled chopped potatoes (8-9 medium) in salted water until a fork easily pierces them. Drain, then mash them well with a hand-held potato masher.

Divide them into three containers and leave them to cool. Use containers that are large enough to add stuff.

White Potato Salad

vegetable white potato salad photo d stewart

To a container of potatoes, add:

  • Mayonnaise – a couple tablespoons and more as needed
  • 1/2 can of mixed vegetables, drained.

I did not have canned mixed vegetables, so I cut a carrot in big chunks and put them in with the potatoes for the final five minutes or so of cooking. Then I cut the chunks in small pieces for the salad along with 3 or 4 pickled green beans cut in 1/2 inch lengths. I also added a bit of pickle juice to thin the mayonnaise slightly.

  • Chopped onion – about 1 tbsp.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together with the potatoes and your vegetable white salad is done.

Mustard Potato Salad

mustard potato salad photo d stewart

Add to another container of potatoes:

  • Mayonnaise – a couple tablespoons and more as needed.
  • Prepared yellow mustard – a tablespoon and more as needed for the colour
  • Chopped onion – about 1 tbsp.
  • Finely chopped red and/or green pepper – 1-2 tbsp.
  • Green relish – about 1 tsp.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all together with the potatoes and your mustard potato salad is done.

Pickled Beet Potato Salad

beet potato salad photo d stewart

To your final container of potatoes, add:

  • Mayonnaise – a couple tablespoons and more as needed.
  • Pickled beets – maybe 1 medium, chopped
  • Pickled beet juice – maybe a tablespoon and more as needed for the colour
  • Salt to taste

Mix all together with the potatoes and your pickled beet potato salad is done. Put lids on and refrigerate for a few hours.

Assembling the plate

An ice cream scoop works best for the potato salads. But if you don’t have one, use a big spoon and mound it as best you can. Same goes for the pasta salad and coleslaw. The potato salads are pretty when put side by side. Then arrange everything else as you like or as fits.

You’ll see I added devilled eggs, just because I think they make everything look fancier. And my plate doesn’t have stuffing and cranberry sauce. I forgot to keep some aside, and we ate it all with hot turkey sandwiches the next day.

hotchickenwfries-jeanpetr-2013-wikicommonsFor me, that’s what you eat the day after a big turkey dinner. Turkey slices between bread with gravy on top, dressing, leftover vegetables and coleslaw on the side. That’s what my mother always made. I think she would have mutinied if someone had asked her to add new parts.

The Art of Leftovers

So I’m in awe of those who make cold plates. They use up leftovers, yes, but they also require making things from scratch. That can work for you, though. Use whatever you have and make or buy the rest. I think they are a perfect summer meal. Potato and pasta salads, any kind of green salad. Rolled up ham and turkey slices, cheese, hardboiled or devilled eggs. However and whenever they are made, they are works of art.

kebab cold plate photo d stewartAfter our post-post Thanksgiving cold plates, I had potato salad left over. Enough, it turned out, for two more meals. Hamburgers, then kebabs, with salads – variations on a cold plate.

Rock Recipes has more variations and stories about the tradition of Newfoundland cold plates.

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