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Provencal Roasted Turkey Breast

If there are leftovers, build a fabulous club sandwich with tomato, lettuce, bacon and a slice or two of the turkey. Smear a little of the seasoning paste on the bread.

Ingredients:

  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 bone-in turkey breast, 5 to 6 lb.
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the seasoning paste:

  • 4 shallots
  • 1 generous cup pitted oil-cured black olives
  • 1 Tbs. herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
      leaves
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 8 to 10 Vidalia or other sweet onions

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Scatter the chopped carrot, celery and half of the yellow onions in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Set a rack over the vegetables.

Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the inside with the lemon, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To make the seasoning paste, in a mini-prep food processor, combine the shallots, olives, herbes de Provence, pepper and parsley. Pulse until evenly chopped but not smooth; set aside.

Carefully slide your fingers under the skin on the turkey breast, separating it from the flesh but leaving it attached on the sides. Spread the seasoning paste under the skin, in the wing sockets and inside the cavity. Fill the cavity with the remaining yellow onions. Brush the skin with the olive oil and set the turkey breast, on one side, on the rack.

Roast until the skin is browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Turn the breast onto the opposite side and continue to roast until the skin is browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, turn the breast right side up and continue to roast, basting every 10 minutes with the pan juices during the last 30 minutes, until the skin is crisp and browned and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced at the thickest part with a fork, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 162° to 165°F, about 2 hours more. If the turkey skin is browning too fast, tent with aluminum foil.

Meanwhile, prepare the Vidalia onions. Working with 1 onion at a time, peel the skin from the top of the onion, trimming off the long hairs but leaving the root end intact. Using a sharp knife and starting at the stem end, cut the onion into eighths or tenths almost through to the root end. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Using your thumbs, pull the onion open slightly to form a blossom shape. Add the onions to the pan during the last 35 to 40 minutes and roast, basting with the pan juices, until tender.

Transfer the turkey breast to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes. Cut the turkey across the grain into thin slices and arrange them on a warmed platter. Garnish with the Vidalia onions and serve immediately.
Serves 8 to 10.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Everyday Roasting, by Janeen Sarlin (Time-Life Books, 1998).