Easy Roast Turkey Breast
From Cook's Illustrated:
Our challenge in developing the best easy roast turkey breast recipe was to get moist, juicy meat and crisp skin. To do so, we had to determine the best roasting technique, with a high temperature to crisp the skin and a low temperature for moist meat. The optimal combination for our turkey breast recipe was to start the turkey breast in a 425-degree oven for the first half-hour of cooking and then reduce the heat to 325 degrees for the remaining hour.
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
¾ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 whole turkey breast (6 to 7 pounds), bone-in and skin-on, trimmed of excess fat and patted dry with paper towels
1 cup water
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix butter, salt, and pepper in medium bowl with rubber spatula until thoroughly combined. Carefully separate turkey skin from meat over breast; avoid breaking skin.
2. Work butter mixture under skin on both sides of breast and rub skin of turkey to evenly distribute butter over breast. Spray V-rack with nonstick cooking spray and set inside large roasting pan. Place turkey in rack with skin side facing up; pour water into roasting pan.
3. Roast turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue to roast turkey until thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour longer. Transfer turkey to carving board and let rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve.
- This recipe works equally well with any type of turkey breast. We recommend brining (see procedure below) if using a natural turkey breast (no salt added). Using a kosher turkey breast (soaked in salt water during processing) or self- basting turkey breast (injected with salt and water) eliminates the need for brining. The ingredient list on the turkey breast's package will say whether it's been treated with salt. If brining the turkey, omit the salt from the recipe. If the breast has a pop-up timer, do not remove it. Just ignore it (they pop too late) and follow the times and temperatures in the recipe. A turkey breast doesn't yield much in the way of drippings, so a classic pan gravy recipe is not an option.
- How to Brine a Turkey Breast: Dissolve 1/2 cup of table salt (or 3/4 cup of kosher salt) in 4 quarts of cold water in a large container; submerge the turkey breast in brine, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for three to six hours. (Do not brine the turkey breast any longer, or it will be too salty.) Rinse the turkey breast under cold water and dry it thoroughly with paper towels.