I don’t want to get anybody all worked up into a frenzy, but I have two pieces of news for you. FAYEFOOD, the cookbook is having its test run at the printers today and Thanksgiving is next month. If anyone is thinking of either writing a book or cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I want to you to locate the Tylenol in your home, and start sleeping now, because there is no kicking back to watch the game once either one of them are in the oven. Both are entirely worth it. What is better than getting all the love you can muster and everything that means the most to you and putting it into words or a turkey? (or a child, or a job; it’s a long list)
I can’t pretend I know how to write a book yet, but you can count your blessings that you found me when it comes to making turkey, because I have it figured out.
Start small to practice. Buy a turkey breast with the skin on and the bones in. Alfred Portale is a food genius and I think his brine recipe gives a lot of boost to a part of the bird that otherwise should only be photographed, and never eaten. Brining breaks down the fibers of the meat and helps to tenderize it, giving you a very juicy result. Add little bits of flavoring to the brine water and little bits to the roasting pan, and everything is going to be all right.
Soak the breast in 2 quarts of water with 3 tablespoons of salt and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Add a few bay leaves, a pepper corn or two and some sprigs of fresh thyme. Let this sit overnight or for at least six hours and up to 24. Keep it in the fridge while you wait.
Wipe the breast with paper towel to dry completely. Do not add any more salt. Heat up a heavy saute pan, add a little olive oil, and set the breast in there skin side down over medium heat. Don’t move it or lift it until you see the edges beginning to whiten a bit and the bottom caramelizing. When it is a lovely brown, turn off the heat and transfer the breast to a baking pan, unless the saute pan can go directly into the oven. Cut a head of garlic in half crosswise, and stick that under the breast with some rosemary and sage springs. Grind on a little pepper, drizzle it with olive oil, and roast for 350 degrees, basting with the pan juices every fifteen or twenty minutes.
The juices should be no longer pink. It should take about an hour and a half, but it depends on the size of the breast.
This is delicious with pasta with fresh porcini, roasted butternut squash with crostini, and wilted dark greens. Make a french apple tart for dessert.