|Turkey Breast Salad with
INSALATA DI PETTO DI TACCHINO CON IL MELOGRANO
Recipe from Marcella Cucina by Marcella Hazan
1 celery stalk
1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled
1 pound turkey breast, in a single piece
2 or 3 pomegranates
1 head of Boston lettuce
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For 4 persons
Some years ago, on our anniversary, Victor and I decided to revisit Sirmione, the
peninsula at the southern tip of Lake Garda where, many winters before, we had had our
brief honeymoon. Sirmione is a short morning's drive from Venice and we thought we would
stop there for lunch. The excursion buses at the town's gate were a signal that the
romantically deserted Sirmione of our youth no longer existed, and after a disconsolate
walk past the souvenir stalls and down the main street lined with tourist trade shops, we
decided to have our anniversary lunch elsewhere.
The lunch, at the Vecchia Lugana restaurant on the lakeshore just east of Sirmione, saved
the day. It began with this turkey breast with pomegranate, an old Lombard recipe, served
as an appetizer. It was beautiful to see, the vermilion of the pomegranate seeds studding
the turkey's creamy flesh. But more wonderful yet was the taste. As each one of the
crunchy seeds burst under one's teeth, it released a few drops of juice that was tart and
sweet at once, mingling with bitefuls of the breast, injecting life into the mild flavor
of the turkey.
- Peel the carrot and wash both the carrot and celery stalk. Put the carrot, celery, and
onion in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover the turkey later. Bring to a boil
and cook at a moderate but steady pace for 15 minutes.
- Add the turkey. Cook at a gentle boil for 30 minutes, and add salt. Cook for 10 minutes
longer, then take off heat, letting turkey steep in its broth.
- While the turkey is cooking, split open the pomegranates and pick out all the
vermilion-colored seeds from the spongy pith that surrounds them. Use as many pomegranates
as you need to make about 2/3 cup of seeds.
- Pull off the ten largest leaves of the lettuce, wash them, and pat them thoroughly dry.
Cut them into very thin strips. You should get about 6 cups. When ready to serve, spread
the lettuce over a platter.
- The turkey should still be warm, but if you have made it ahead and it is cold, warm it
up gently in its broth. Drain (you can freeze the broth in cubes and use it on other
occasions in soup or a risotto) and cut the turkey into very thin slices. Arrange the
slices over the lettuce in the platter. Drizzle oil over them and squeeze on a little bit
of lemon juice. If the half lemon is very juicy, do not use it all because you don't want
to make the seasoning too acidic. Scatter the pomegranate seeds over the turkey and serve
while still lukewarm.
The salad should be served warm, but you can cook the turkey several hours in advance,
refrigerate in its broth, and reheat gently, but thoroughly just before composing the