Inaugural Mozza cooking class of 11 eager-beaver, hand-raising (that would be me:)), ravenous foodie students gathered on one weeknight of Nov 12 at the impressive, fully-equipped kitchen at Mozza with the one and only Nancy Silverton – with pix to prove it;)
They (Nancy, as well as Matt Molina, the executive chef at Mozza and Dahlia Narvaez, the executive pastry chef at Mozza) made things look so easy and approachable, I thought, there’s nothing to this! I can be a chef:) And with beautiful and importantly, delicious out-of-this-world Italian-influenced Thanksgiving recipes – even in middle of moving and packing -I was able to impress the family with the dishes I learned. They liked it so much that they practically BEGGED for doggie bags! No more cooking the entire crazy bird, it’ll be roulades for me from now on. Not only does it look beeeautiful but it’s juicy, tasty, and sooo much better than the traditional turkey. And the brussel sprouts – oh. how. i. love. thee. After you try mine, actually, Nancy Silverton’s, seared to perfection and drizzled with sherry vinaigrette and pancetta bread crumbs – you’ll never look at these so-called-exotic and bad-rap-with kids-veggies the same way again. And to that point – I’d like to share the recipes below (Turkey here and Brussel Sprouts on next post). Let me know how it turns out and what you think of it. For those of you who’s had traditional bird for Thanksgiving, this recipe would be PERFECT for the upcoming holidays~ ciao~
Taccino Alla Porchetta – Turkey Roulade (provided by courtesy of Nancy Silverton at Mozza and tweaked by moi) – Serves 8 with some leftovers
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2c yellow onion, peeled, halved, and sliced into 1″ rounds
2c yellow onion, finely minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 tbsp fresh fennel fronds, chopped (the frilly dill-looking stuff when you buy your fennel bulbs)
2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 tbsp. plus 2tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp plus 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
4 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
2 tbsp fennel pollen (found at your exotic spice stores – and what both Nancy and Matt refer to as “cocaine” of Italian cooking. Intensely concentrated fennel flower pollen with beautiful color and intense, intense aroma and flavors of fennel)
4 deboned turkey thighs (~5 lbs in total and easily found at your local market like Whole Foods. They only had the bone-in ones and I sweetly asked the nice butcher to debone it for me)
20 14″ lengths of butcher’s twin
3 c fennel bulbs, stalks cut off and sliced 1″ thick
brine: 1/3 c sugar, 1/3c salt and 4c water
Mix brine and soak turkey thighs for 1 hour. According to Mozza, this helps not only to flavor and bring moisture to your protein but also tenderizes the meat. After 1 hr, remove turkey, pat dry with paper towl and set aside;
Prep filling –
1) Heat pan with 4 tbsp olive oil. Add onion, garlic, fennel seed, 2tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper; sweat for 7 min until tender. Turn off heat, add chopped rosemary and cool. Stir in fennel fronds into filling mixture – it will have a consistency of a paste.
1) Mix the following dry ingredients: fennel pollen + 2 tbsp salt + 2 tbsp pepper. Rub unto turkey thighs, lay skin-side down.
Jelly Roll/Roulade time – Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
1) Line up turkey thighs on cutting board, skin-side down. Divide filling equally among the four thighs, placing it toward the end of the turkey closest to you. Start rolling, a la egg-roll style. Repeat for the rest of the turkey.
2) Tress your turkey by tying it once lengthwise with the butchers twine, and then tie it ~3-4 times horizontally.
3) Heat a dutch oven (a fancy name for any kind of oven-proof, preferably iron cast deep roasting pan) on cooktop with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Sear turkey (seam side down) and brown about 2 min on each side. This helps to tighten up the seam so that you don’t have fillings busting out of the jelly roll. Plus – it makes a nice sear that I swear helps to keep the flavors “inside” and keep the protein moist. Turn off heat, pull out turkey rolls, add onion and fennel bulbs to pan, scrape bottom and (if you like), pour 1/4 cup of white wine to deglaze the pan.
1) Place turkey roll back into the pan, and roast for 45 min until the center comes to 165 degrees. I didn’t have a thermometer so I just guessed and cooked it for ~1 hr and it turned out fine.
Remove turkey from oven, let cool for ~15-20 min. Remove twine, and slice into 1″ thick medallions. Serve and enjoy~