There are three things that intrigue me... first and foremost is food and the many ways it can be turned from nourishment into an edible work of art. Next is words... the written, the spoken, the meanings. And finally there is history. The history of our people, my people, antique furniture and old photos. Along with these very separate subjects is often a chance for them to come together, especially for us food writing chefs.
Old recipes and those with interesting names are also fun for me to work with. Where did they come from, and what has made them endure the test of time and the counting of calories? Who was the first one to create a dish, and who was the first one to put it in a cookbook? A modern day favorite is the Caesar Salad, which does not hail from the Roman Emperor Caesar, but from the Grand Master Maitre d' Hotel at the brand new Waldorf Astoria of the 1930's. Or was it the Italian Chef Caesar Cardini, living in Mexico in the 1920's?
Once I've learned a new fun foodie fact I do my best to cook the dish, at least once. Every year on New Year's Day, (the one in January), I cook up a big pot of Hoppin' John ~ an African American dish prepared on this day during the sad time of slavery as a special treat. It's said to bring luck for the new year. And twice a year I make an Apple Brown Betty, for the one reason that my great-grandmother's name was Betty Brown.
My collection of foodie words was recently picked through when I was questioned about a Turkey London Broil. It sounds so fascinating, so delicious, such a new and interesting meal to put on the table. And with the wonder of Thanksgivukkah just recently passed, this is a perfect time for some edible word play.
A Turkey London Broil is another name for a boneless, skinless half turkey breast. But don't be disappointed that it is nothing more exciting, as this wonderful cut of fowl offers so many options for a quick and light supper.
Weighing in at roughly a pound and a half, they don't shrink much during cooking, and can serve several portions. As any day-after-Thanksgiving cook knows, the leftovers are great, too.
The turkey breast has very little, to no fat content and can dry out quickly if not cooked properly. Recipes abound for a traditional Beef London Broil, and the same goes for its turkey counterpart. Dry rubs, marinades and brines are all savory starts to imparting flavor into the meat. Additionally, sauces and gravies add a velvety texture.
As with all meats, once cooked, allow it to rest for 10 - 15 minutes before slicing. Be sure to carve it against the grain using a long sharp knife.
While I make a big to-do about my whole roasted brined turkey on Thanksgiving, I like to go a little easier the rest of the year, with moisture inducing marinades or sauces for the turkey breasts. I hope you enjoy the recipe I've included here.
From the Abigael's Restaurant Group in New York City, we wish you a great 2014!