When it comes to meats, turkey breast may just be the biggest pain there is. Undercook it and you can get a bad tummy ache or worse from salmonella. Overcook it and it is cardboard (click here for more info about the proper temperature for turkey and other meats).
Turkey breast is white meat, and is on the bland side, not as flavorful as the dark meat like thighs. But it is a blank canvas to accept other flavors and show them off.
Bobby Flay, the FoodNetwork celebrity chef, the owner/executive chef of nine restaurants, and the author of nine cookbooks, shared a creative solution with me when I interviewed him in November 2009 (click here to see a video of him preparing the recipe). He soaks the meat in a flavorful mayonnaise based marinade before he roasts it.
Flay calls his recipe "tandoori" style, a bit of a stretch because poultry cooked tandoori style is usually marinated in spiced yogurt, not mayo, and it is cooked on a tandoor, a cylindrical clay or ceramic charcoal grill used widely in India. This ancient method of cooking is making its way west and today there are several commercial grills that are similar. The popular Big Green Egg ceramic grill and smoker (above) is very much like a tandoor. There are others on my Buyer's Guide to Charcoal Smokers.
In the spirit of true "tandoori style" I have modified Flay's recipe for cooking on a grill. Don't tell me you're surprised.
Preparation time. 20 minutes
Marinating time. 2-8 hours
Cooking time. About 90 minutes
3/4 cup Hellman's Real Mayonnaise
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons good quality curry powder
Zest of 1 fresh lime
Juice of 2 fresh limes
1 boneless, skinless turkey breast, about 4 to 5 pounds
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
About the mayo. Flay is sponsored in part by Hellman's, and that's OK with me. It is my favorite mayo, too.
1) Combine the mayonnaise, onion, garlic, curry powder, lime zest, and juice in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture in a large bowl, add the turkey breast and cilantro, and turn to coat the entire turkey in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.
2) Setup your grill for 2-zone or Indirect cooking and preheat it to 350°F.
3) Remove the turkey from the marinade, season well with salt and pepper, and put the meat on the indirect side of the grill, and cover it. Add 2 ounces of smoke wood if you wish. If you are cooking indoors in an oven, place the meat on a baking rack set in a small roasting pan or a baking sheet. Roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the breast registers 160°F, about 90 minutes.
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