This dish was inspired by a Wolfgang Puck roast salmon recipe I found browsing Food Network’s database. I altered the recipe a bit to suit the ingredients I had on hand and made it tonight for dinner.
The meal is elegant and interesting but still accessible. I am a pretty average home cook and I managed to make it relatively easily on a weeknight after work. Timing was important — as long as you trim and boil the root vegetables first, prepare the meat, preheat the oven, start the sauce and let it reduce, and then cook the meat.
Everything can be done simultaneously and finishes at about the same time. I must admit that I did not take the recipe’s suggestion to make my own chicken stock, which saved me a lot of time but may have sacrificed flavor.
I used turkey breast steaks rather than salmon here--and I think any meat would work rather well with it, even beef. Maybe especially beef. The turkey was good though. I did have to cook it 10-15 minutes longer than I would have for salmon since I had pretty thick turkey steaks. I also cooked them at a lower temperature because I'm pretty sure at 500 degrees, they would have gotten burned before they were done inside. I settled for 450 degrees and the turkey took about 20-25 minutes to reach a level of doneness I was comfortable with. Like I said, a variety of meats could be used here; it’s just important to adjust the cooking time and temperature to suit the particular meat.
There were a lot of interesting flavors going on with the celery root, ginger, and red wine. I never would have thought to put these ingredients together, but it worked. It's a really beautiful dish, especially when you drizzle the ruby sauce over the pale turkey and celery root puree. It made our average weeknight feel pretty special.
Celery Root Puree 1 small celery root, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes 2 small baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup half and half 2 tablespoons unsalted butter Freshly ground pepper
For the Meat 2 turkey breast steaks, about 1” thick Salt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 1 1/2 tablespoons crushed black peppercorns 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
For the Sauce 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 garlic cloves, chopped 1 plum tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped 2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon, or whatever red wine you have—I used Burgundy 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 cup store-bought chicken stock Salt Freshly ground pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil
Place the celery root and potato in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Season with salt and cook until soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the water and return the celery and potato to the pan. Pour in the half and half and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until thickened and most of the half and half is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Puree with an immersion blender and keep warm over low heat.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Place the turkey breasts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Season the turkey lightly with salt. Brush the top of the turkey with the melted butter and immediately sprinkle evenly with crushed pepper and chopped ginger. When oven is preheated, roast for 20-25 minutes, using a meat thermometer if necessary to ensure doneness.
Prepare the sauce: In a small saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter until foamy. Over medium heat, saute the garlic for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer. Pour in the wine and vinegar, turn up the heat a little, and reduce until 1/2 cup remains. Pour in the chicken stock and reduce by half. Finish sauce by whisking in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Divide the sauce among 2 dinner plates. Spoon equal amounts of celery root puree in the center of each plate (there will be extra puree) and place 1 piece of turkey on top. Drizzle with sauce and serve.