Published November 1, 2007.
Achieving crisp skin without drying out the delicate white meat is easier said than done when roasting a whole breast.
A roasted turkey breast usually has dry, chalky white meat covered by rubbery skin.
We wanted an easy way to roast a whole breast with moist, juicy meat and really crisp skin.
Over the years, the test kitchen has discovered that brining makes turkey moister, so it came as no surprise that brining would be our first step. The challenge was to find the best roasting technique—we needed a high temperature to crisp the skin but a low temperature to keep the meat moist. The optimal combination was to start the turkey breast in a 425-degree oven for the first half hour of cooking and then reduce the heat to 325 degrees for the remaining hour. We did initially have problems with the dripping generated during the high-heat roasting—it burned and smoked up the kitchen—but adding a cup of water to the roasting pan solved that issue. Loosening the skin and massaging butter directly on the meat added flavor. A compound butter made with additional herbs and citrus zest opened up further flavor opportunities.list of recipes