THE WILD CHEF

Spring gob­bler meat takes the place of veal in this tra­di­tional Ital­ian recipe

Field and Stream - - CONTENTS - By Jonathan Miles

This gob­bler recipe sounds nuts, but trust us: It’s an ab­so­lute knock­out. By Jonathan Miles

Vitello tonnato is a clas­sic dish from Italy’s Pied­mont re­gion that, frankly, sounds patently in­sane: veal slices dressed in a creamy sauce made from canned tuna and ca­pers. The brain may say no, but the mouth dis­agrees.

The sa­vory-on-sa­vory com­bi­na­tion is ter­rif­i­cally lush, a car­niv­o­rous mar­riage that shouldn’t work but some­how does. In our ver­sion, braised wild tur­key breast stands in for the veal, up­ping the fla­vor ante that much fur­ther. Some as­para­gus on the side— cooked in some of the left­over pan juices—would round it out nicely.

Re­move the tur­key breast from the re­frig­er­a­tor at least a half hour be­fore cook­ing to take the chill off. Pre­heat oven to 350 de­grees. Rub the meat with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, then salt and pep­per gen­er­ously. Place the meat in a bak­ing dish and add just enough stock and wine to cover the bot­tom third of the meat. (You may need more or less, de­pend­ing on the size of the breast and dish.) Squeeze 1 Tbsp. juice from the lemon and re­serve for later. Add the lemon halves and gar­lic to the broth-wine mix­ture. Trans­fer to the oven, un­cov­ered, and cook for about 1 hour, or un­til an in­stant-read ther­mome­ter reads 150. Trans­fer the tur­key to a plate to cool, re­serv­ing 1⁄4 cup of the pan juices.

Make the sauce: In a blender com­bine the tuna (and the pack­ing oil) with 1⁄2 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp. wine, re­served lemon juice, an­chovy paste, ca­pers, and re­served pan juices. Purée un­til smooth, then sea­son with pep­per. (Taste for salt, but the an­chovies should sup­ply enough.)

To serve, slice the tur­key across the grain and dress with the sauce. Gar­nish with the radish slices, wa­ter­cress, and cherry toma­toes. Serves 4

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