Sunday, September 23, 2018

ChezCindy: Nicoise-style Turkey Breast

Nicoise-style Roasted Turkey

Nicoise-style cooking is preparing food in the manner of the countryside in Nice, France.  Using fresh ingredients of olives, capers, lemons, tomatoes, fresh herbs, meat or fish, all bathed in olive oil.  Food prepared simply, letting the ingredients shine.

This roasted turkey breast does take a few additional steps to prepare, but it is worth the effort.  It is a bit advanced if you are ready to try something new.  Butterflying the turkey breast allows for the herbs, lemon and olives to become wrapped inside the turkey while roasting, allowing the flavor to baste the meat from the inside-out.  If you are pressed for time, have the butcher butterfly the meat for you.  Or, simply place the whole boneless turkey breast in the roasting pan, scattering the ingredients over and around the turkey.  This would also be quite good with turkey thighs.  

Nicoise-style Roasted Turkey Breast
1 whole turkey breast, boneless 3- 4 pounds
     Or use 3-4 pounds of bone-in turkey thighs
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pits removed
1 lemon, thinly sliced
4-6 stems of fresh tarragon
4-6 stems of fresh thyme
3-4 stems of fresh rosemary 
1 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt & pepper

green onions or leeks
small whole carrots

Have your butcher prepare a small whole turkey breast by removing the bone, keeping the 2 sides intact, attached by the skin.  Butterfly the thicker parts of the meat so that the turkey breast is even in thickness.  

Working on a large cutting board, lay out the turkey breast, opening it up like a book, skin-side down.  Sprinkle evenly with kosher salt, black pepper and 1/4 cup olive oil.  Tear the olives into pieces, distributing over the 2 sides of turkey.  Add half of the sprigs of tarragon, thyme and rosemary to one side; top the herbs with the lemon slices.  Close the "book" placing the herb-less side over the side with the herbs and lemon slices to cover them.  Sprinkle the outside with salt, black pepper.  Using butcher twine, tie the two sides together to keep it closed, containing the herbs, olives and lemons.  Place the bundled turkey breast into a zip-top bag.  Add 1/2 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar and the remaining sprigs of herbs.  Marinate in the refrigerator over night.  

Next day, remove the bundled turkey breast and loose herbs from the bag; discard the bag.  Allow the turkey breast to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Working on the stovetop, heat a large cast iron skillet for a few minutes, place the bundled turkey breast into the hot pan.  Cook on medium high heat for 5-7 minutes to sear and brown this first side.  When well browned, using tongs, turn the turkey over to side 2.  Place the loose herbs on top of side 2.  Scatter the prepared vegetables around the turkey at the edge of the pan.  Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper over the vegetables.  Place the pan into the preheated oven.  

Ready for the oven.

Roast until the center of the turkey breast reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees.  Roughly 15 minutes per pound of turkey.  Remove pan from the oven.   

Turkey breast resting in the pan, once internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.

Allow the turkey to rest for 20 minutes in the pan.  Carry-over cooking will take the temperature to 160.  Remove the turkey from the pan, cut and remove the butcher string ties.  Carve into thick slices. Serve with the pan juices drizzled over the meat and vegetables.  Enjoy.  

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