Fennel by grandson Anthony, age 11.

Fennel by grandson Anthony, age 11.

The Famous Roasted Turkey Breast


Before I remarried, money was scarce, but that didn't stop my daughter Nori and me from enjoying our meals. One great way was to roast a turkey breast on Sunday and serve it with roasted potatoes, salad, etc. This breast, serving about 8, lasted several days morphing into several great leftovers:

  • Turkey Waldorf Salad
  • Turkey Enchiladas
  • Turkey Quesadillas
  • Lunch Sandwiches


  • 1 large turkey breast (3 to 4 lbs.)
  • 1 stalk of fennel (fronds only; you can save the bulb for Fennel Gratin or a salad.)
  • 3 to 5 peeled garlic cloves, each cut in half to make 6 to 10 pieces
  • Kosher salt and pepper


  • Wash off turkey breast, drain and pat dry.
  • Cut green fronds off fennel to use for the breast, reserving the bulb for another use.
  • Rinse fronds and pat dry.
  • Slide your hand between turkey skin and breast to make space for the fennel greens, which you slide in carefully between skin and breast meat.
  • Make 1/2 inch slits through the skin of the turkey into the breast meat and push garlic cloves into each slit. Generously salt and pepper the breast on all sides.
  • Place turkey breast skin side up on a baking rack in an ovenproof baking pan. Roast for 20 minutes at high temperature, then turn the oven down to 350.
  • Roast turkey until juices run clear, about 1 hour more. Internal temperature should be 165 F minimum, 170F maximum using an instant read thermometer. The turkey will continue to cook once iti is taken out of the oven, so do not let it go higher than 170F or it will dry out.
  • Let turkey breast rest for about 15 minutes. Slice and serve.