To you stalwart visitors, my apologies for a long absence. I have a book coming out Nov. 1 and it has largely eaten my life. The book is called "Talking with My Mouth Full" (hence the blog's name change). AND I have a new website www.bonnywolf.com with information about the book, events, etc. In the last few months, I have begun editing "The Kitchen Window" NPR's weekly online food column. Check it out at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4578972. And if there are any writers out there who have a story idea, please contact us.
Since we last met, I had a 95th birthday party for my dad. I had 55 people to dinner in my Washington, DC, 19th century townhouse. Quite a challenge. My dad served as a foot soldier in Italy for 3 years during World War II and came away with a love for Italian food and song. So I put out a huge antipasto buffet, anchored by turkey tonnato -- a variation of vitello tonnato, a dish Marcella Hazan calls "as versatile as it is lovely." Everyone wanted the recipe so I offer it to you below. I had platters of sliced salamis, mozzarella balls in oil, marinated mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts (Costco); olive salad, peppers stuffed with prosciutto, pepperoncini, roasted peppers, giardiniera (neighborhood Italian market) and roasted vegetables and marinated carrots that I made. Huge success. I hired a senior from the DC arts high school to sing Italian arias. My dad was very happy.
Turkey Tonnato (Adapted from "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" by Marcella Hazan)
Makes 6-8 servings
For Poaching the Meat
2 to 2 1/2 pounds turkey breast
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 stalk celery without leaves
1 medium onion, peeled
4 sprigs parsley
1 dried bay leaf
For the Tuna Sauce
1 cup homemade mayonnaise
1 7-ounce can imported tuna packed in olive oil
5 flat anchovey fillets
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons capers, soaked and rinsed if packed in salt, drained if in vinegar
Thin slices of lemon
Pitted black olives cut into narrow wedges
Whole parsley leaves
In a pot just large enough to hold the turkey, put in the meat, carrot, celery, onion, parsley, bay leaf and just enough water and white wine to cover. Remove the meat and set it aside. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil, then put in the meat and when the water resumes boiling, cover the pot, adjust heat to cook at a gentle, steady simmer, and cook for about an hour. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the meat to cool in its broth.
Make the mayonnaise.
Drain the canned tuna, and put it into a food processor together with the anchovies, olive oil, lemon juice and capers. Process until you obtain a creamy, uniformly blended sauce. Remove the sauce from the processor bowl and fold it gently, but thoroughly, into the mayonnaise. No salt may be required becasue both the anchovies and the capers supply it, but taste to be sure.
When the meat is quite cold, remove from broth, place on a cutting board and cut into uniformly thin slices.
Smear the bottom of a serving platter with some of the tuna sauce. Over it spread a single layer of turkey slices, meeting edge to edge without overlapping. Cover with sauce, then make another layer of meat slices, and cover again with sauce. Repeat the procedure until you have used up all the meat, leaving yourself with enough sauce to blanket the topmost layer.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. It will keep well for at least a week. Bring to room temperature before serving. When you remove the plastic wrap, use a spatula to even off the top, and garnish with some or all of the suggested garnish ingreadients.