Breakaway Cook

Breakaway Japanese Kitchen - Recipes

The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen


Table of Contents

"Here at last is the best of East and West. Eric Gower has combined the unique and subtle taste of Japan with the lusty cuisine of the West. The recipes are full of inspirational and simple ideas that are perfect for today's cook." --Ken Hom

Soy Brined Roasted Turkey

It’s a shame that most people cook turkey only on Thanksgiving and Christmas; this festive version could be a monthly event! I like to brine (basically the combination of sugar and salt in water or stock) the bird overnight, which keeps the meat extremely moist. This is not necessary, but it does give a more flavorful, moister turkey. The roasting requires some care, but the results are well worth it. An iced bottle or two of good champagne to go with it will ensure a memorable evening.

Tofu with Figs

The brine:

  • 3 cups soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 young turkey,
    about 12 pounds (5.5 kg)
  • enough water or stock
    to cover the bird

Pour the soy sauce into a large bucket or other vessel large enough to hold the turkey, add the sugar, and mix. Add the turkey and enough water to cover. Add some ice to it if you’re cooking this in summer, or squeeze it into the refrigerator. Brine overnight, or at least for several hours.

The dish:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 ruby grapefruit, cut into eighths (peel stays on)
  • fresh coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 large fennel bulb, roughly chopped
  • 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
  • sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 (220 c). Rinse the bird, dry it thoroughly with paper towels, and rub the olive oil all over it, including inside the cavity. Sprinkle the thyme inside the cavity, then stuff the cut-up grapefruit into the cavity, and place the bird in a foil-lined baking pan outfitted with a rack to allow the fat to drip. Pepper the whole thing liberally, and make a little aluminum foil tent to avoid burning the skin. Cook the turkey for about 45 minutes, take it out, discard the tent, and with a sharp knife lightly slice the place where the leg meets the body, to ensure thorough cooking there. Turn it over, reduce the heat to 300 (150 c), and roast for 1 hour. Add the fennel and onion to the bottom of the pan, amid the juices, turn the heat back up to 400, and roast for another 15 minutes. Take it out and flip it again, and continue to roast for another 15 to 30 minutes. The bird should be deeply browned by now—if not, keep cooking till it is. Total cooking time should be about 2½ hours.

When done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a while. Collect the fennel, onions, and the juices, and blend them in a blender to make a gravy. Remove the grapefruit wedges, and set aside.

To carve, cut off the legs first, then the wings. The meat should basically just fall off the bones (if it doesn’t, it needs to be cooked a little more). Then slice the breast down the middle, pulling the meat off with the knife. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Transfer all the meat to a warm platter, squeeze the grapefruit wedges over the meat, mix in the gravy, liberally salt and pepper, and serve hot. Serves many.