Thursday, May 6, 2010

Roast Turkey Breast and Croque Madames

Also from Boston Globe on April 28, 2010...

A boneless turkey breast will give you all the glory of a roasted centerpiece, but keep calories down. Add some vegetables to the roasting pan, and you have a grand meal without much effort. Begin by roasting the vegetables without the turkey. This may seem counterintuitive but the breast will cook in a jiffy. You will get beautiful results — moist, juicy poultry — by using a meat thermometer. If it’s languishing in the bottom of your utensil drawer, now’s the time pull it out.

Save some sliced meat for the famous French croque-madame; it’s a croque-monsieur, made with Gruyere cheese and highly seasoned ham, with an egg on top. In this version, turkey replaces ham; butter-smeared toast and a rich mornay sauce still make the dish plenty rich. And serve it with knives and forks; this isn’t finger food.

Once the cheese sauce is prepared, keep it warm (it thickens as it cools and loses its velvety consistency). Spoon the sauce over the golden sandwiches and slide them under the broiler. Don’t go away; they will brown in seconds. The defining element is a sunny-side up egg, placed delicately on top so the yolk stays intact. The egg takes the sandwich from a simple monsieur to a decadent madame.

Roast turkey breast with root vegetables
Serves 4 with leftovers

2 medium turnips, cut into large wedges
2 small parsnips, cut into large wedges
2 shallots, halved
5 small red potatoes, cut into large wedges
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 pound boneless turkey breast
1/2 cup white wine or water
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves chopped

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. In a large roasting pan, combine the turnips, parsnips, shallots, and potatoes. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

2. Roast the root vegetables for 30 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the oven, and stir the vegetables. Set the turkey breast in the center. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Pour the wine or water onto the root vegetables.

4. Return the pan to the oven. Continue roasting for 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the turkey registers 160 degrees. (Total roasting time is 1 hour and 15 minutes.)

5. Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest in a warm place for 5 minutes. The meat temperature will rise to 165 degrees.

6. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board. Remove any strings or mesh bag from the meat. Cut the meat into slices. (Set aside 4 slices for the sandwiches.) Serve the turkey with root vegetables and any juices in the pan.

Turkey croque-madames
Serves 4


2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2/3 cup milk
1 ounce Gruyere, grated ( 1/2 cup)
Pinch grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a skillet, bring several inches of hot water to a boil. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.

2. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and stir in the Gruyere. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Set the saucepan in the skillet to keep warm.


3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
8 slices sandwich bread
4 slices leftover turkey breast
2 ounces Gruyere, grated (1 cup)
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 eggs

1. Turn on the broiler. Have on hand 2 large skillets with ovenproof handles.

2. Lay out 4 slices of bread. Divide the turkey and Gruyere evenly among them. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover each with a slice of bread. Lightly butter top sides of the sandwiches. (Use 1 tablespoon now and 1 tablespoon later on the other side.)

3. Over medium heat, heat the skillets. Place 2 sandwiches, buttered sides down, in each skillet. Cook for 4 minutes or until golden on the bottom, pressing the tops lightly with a metal spatula. Butter the tops. Flip the sandwiches to cook the other side, pressing lightly, or until the undersides are golden.

4. Remove the sauce from the water; wipe the bottom. Spoon sauce over each sandwich, dividing it evenly. Place the skillets under the broiler and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the sauce is browned in spots and bubbling. Set aside in a warm place.

5. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Crack the eggs, one at a time, into a bowl, then tip them into the skillet. Cook 3 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. If you prefer a firmer yolk, cook for 1 minute more. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

6. Using a wide metal spatula, slide 1 egg on top of each sandwich.

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