This preparation rises to the level of foolproof. As cookbook author Andrew Schloss explains in his newest book, "By setting the oven thermostat at the same temperature I want the meat to be done, overcooking becomes theoretically impossible."
It's best to use a roasting pan that is not much larger than the breast itself. If you slow-roast the turkey overnight (starting at midnight or 1 a.m.), it will stay moist and warm enough to serve at a midday or early afternoon meal.
Make Ahead: The seasoning rub can be assembled days in advance; cover and store at room temperature. The turkey breast needs to be seasoned and air-dried in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. The seasoned, air-dried breast needs to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before slow-roasting.
Servings: 8 - 10
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage (crumbled between your fingers)
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- One 7-to-9-pound whole, skin-on, bone-in turkey breast
- 1 large onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine the thyme, basil, rosemary, marjoram, sage, salt and pepper in a small bowl to create a seasoning rub, then rub it all over the turkey breast, including the underside. Refrigerate the turkey, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours. The skin of the turkey breast will tighten and look dry.
The seasoned, air-dried breast needs to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before slow-roasting.
Meanwhile, cut the onion into about 8 wedges (from top to bottom), then arrange them to cover the bottom of the roasting pan. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Place the turkey breast (breast meat side up) on the onion in the pan. Drizzle the oil evenly over the breast. Roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 175 degrees. Roast for 8 to 9 hours or until the internal temperature of the breast meat, when taken away from the bone, registers 165 to 170 degrees.
Let the turkey rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before carving, or tent it loosely and carve several hours later.
Adapted from Andrew Schloss's "Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More" (Chronicle, 2013).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.