My version of the classic Italian vitello tonnato, in which thin slices of veal are dressed with a tuna mayonnaise sauce and served chilled, features thin slices of turkey breast in place of the veal. It’s accompanied by a quick take on another popular Italian dish, the bread salad called panzanella, which is traditionally made with stale two-or three-day-old bread, but which you can have on demand by baking croutons instead.
4 boneless, skinless Turkey Breasts (5-6
4 cups chicken broth
½ cup homemade mayonnaise (recipe below)
2 tablespoons water
¾ cup high-quality preserved tuna, from
Italy or Spain, drained of excess oil
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
White pepper in a mill
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into
½-inch dice (about 1 cup dice)
¾ pound beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes,
cut into ½-inch dice (about 1 ½ cups dice)
4 cups arugula (from about 3 ounces
arugula), tough stems discarded, washed
and spun dry
½ cup finely julienned red onion
½ cup sherry vinaigrette (recipe below)
½ cup pitted pitted kalamata olives
1 cup parmesan and black pepper
croutons(recipe below) (optional)
Fleur de sel
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
½ tablespoon Dijon mustard, at room
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
½ tablespoon sea salt
1 ¼ cups canola oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup sherry vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons water, if needed
Parmesan and Black Pepper Croutons:
2 cups ¾ inch cubes country bread or baguette
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt plus a pinch
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ teaspoon finely cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Put the turkey breasts in a high-sided, 12-inch sauté pan with a lid. Pour over the stock, cover, and
bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Transfer the pan to the oven and poach until the turkey is cooked through (an instant read thermometer inserted to the thickest part of a breast should read 160°F, approximately 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, drain the liquid from the pan, and let the turkey cool. Serve warm, or transfer to a clean plate or
platter, cover, refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.
Put the mayonnaise and water in the bowl of a food processor fitted with s steel blade. Add the tuna and capers, season with salt and 6 grinds of pepper, and process until all ingredients are well incorporated. The mayonnaise can be transferred to a bowl, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Makes about 1 ½ Cups
Put the yolks, mustard, vinegar, cayenne, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. With the motor running, slowly add the canola oil in a thin stream to form an emulsified mixture. Transfer to an airtight container.
Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
TERMS AND TECHNIQUES
Emulsification: Emulsify means to suspend the ingredients in a mixture until it becomes thick and viscous. Emulsifications require at least one ingredient that binds the others, such as mustard or an egg yolk. They are generally made by very slowly drizzling the primary liquid (usually an oil) into the mixture as it is whipped by a blender or food processor, or by hand using a whisk.
Makes about 1 ½ Cups
Put the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the motor running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream to form an emulsified vinaigrette. (You can also whisk the vinaigrette by hand in a mixing bowl.) If the vinaigrette seems too thick, blend in 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water.
The vinaigrette can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.
Parmesan and Black Pepper Croutons
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Put the bread cubes into a mixing bowl and set them aside.
Warm the olive oil and melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over low heat. Add the garlic, along with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, 3 minutes. Pour the garlic butter over the bread cubes and stir to coat the cubes evenly. Sprinkle the cheese, pepper, and salt over the cubes and toss gently to coat the cubes evenly.
Pour the croutons onto the cookie sheet or baking sheet, spread them out in a single layer, and bake them in the oven until golden brown and crisp on the outside but still chewy inside, 5-6 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and serve the croutons warm or let cool. The croutons can be made in advance and kept at room temperature for up to 3 hours.
Put the cucumbers, tomatoes, arugula, onions, vinaigrette, olives, and croutons, if using, in a bowl and gently toss to coat all of the ingredients with the vinaigrette.
Use a sharp, thin-blade knife to slice the turkey breasts horizontally as thinly as possible, as though you were slicing smoked fish.
Divide the sliced turkey into 4 portions, fanning each portion out on a chilled salad plate. Season the turkey to taste with the fleur de del and a few grinds of pepper. Use an offset spatula to spread the mayonnaise evenly over the turkey. Mount some bread salad in the center of the plate, and serve.
Serve the salad on its own as a small meal or side dish, or top the salad with a grilled or seared tuna stead for a seafood alternative main course.
The son of Annandale, Virginia, restaurateurs, Terrance Brennan has become one of America’s most regarded and renowned chef and restaurateur.
Terrance cites several key experiences that have elevated him to Master Chef prominence. One of the most notable was his work at the famed Le Cirque restaurant in New York. “It was very intense, it was like Haute Cuisine Boot Camp,” he explains, “and the experience was immeasurable.” He also honed his talents and skills in many of Europe’s finest Michelin starred restaurants. “My training in Europe was a self-imposed apprenticeship,” he says, “which I really consider as my finishing school.” A defining moment for Terrance came while working under Chef Roger Vergé at Le Moulin de Mougins in the south of France, where he was inspired by the region’s “cuisine of the sun.” Here, his signature style began to emerge.
Terrance took his craft back to the states, specializing in Mediterranean-inspired American cuisine. In 1993, he opened his first restaurant, Picholine, which he named after the petite green olives indigenous to the Mediterranean.