Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Barefoot Contessa on Thanksgiving

In my day job I am a magazine editor, which is how I was among the chosen to get to interview Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa, about her new book, How Easy is That?. (We are giving away a copy to one lucky reader and announcing the winner tomorrow so if you haven't entered, click here.)

Anyway in addition to interviewing her for the magazine, life@home, I asked her about a food memory just our LTIR readers. Here's what she had to say about Thanksgiving.

While Ina, one of the few people to make it in the food world without professional culinary school training, makes cooking seem easy, her mother, she said, "was not an easy cook." In our interview, Ina recalled what it took to cook a turkey of yesteryear. Her mother would get up at 4 a.m. to get the turkey in on time, meticulously baste it periodically all day long, and then everyone would proclaim it was the best turkey they'd ever had when, Ina said, it was really dry as a bone. "Thanksgiving was always such a to-do."

Not any more for Ina. "I love that it's so much easier," she said, noting that she prefers her stuffing outside the bird. Her tip for a top bird? Go kosher; they're already pre-salted.

For the dinner gathering itself, smaller is better. Said Ina, "I'm big on smaller parties."

Below is her recipe for herb roasted turkey breast from her new book. But remember you could make all her recipes from this great book, if you click the link above by the end of today. Tomorrow we announce the lucky winner. Good luck and happy cooking!

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
Serves 6 to 8

1 whole bone-in turkey breast (6½ to 7 pounds)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup dry white wine

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the turkey breast on a rack in a roasting pan, skin side up.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture evenly all over the skin of the turkey breast. (You can also loosen the skin and smear half of the paste underneath, directly on the meat.) Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for 1½ to 1 ¾ hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest and meatiest area of the breast. Check the breast after an hour or so; if the skin is overbrowning, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.

When the turkey is done, remove from the oven, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and allow the turkey to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve warm with the pan juices.

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