The Gulf Coast, specifically the area encompassing Mobile’s delta, is an ideal climate zone for growing many citrus fruits. We enjoy a wide range of tropical fruit as well; figs, pears, blueberries, plums, scuppernongs, bananas, jelly palm even the not-so-often mentioned pawpaw as well as the citrus tastes of grapefruit (many early, mid and late varieties), blood oranges, limes (Key and Persian) and hybrids too, Meyer lemons, Asian persimmons, ‘Ponkan’ mandarins, tangerine (Clementime, Darcy, Tangelos and a host of others), sweet orange, kumquat, Calamondins and our beloved satsuma. These are just a few of the ‘fruits’ of our backyard labor we coastal folks enjoy seasonally and to go out in the yard, pick a fresh satsuma or two and use it in a recipe is a rewarding treat, a feeling of pride that turns any ol’ recipe into extraordinaire.
There are so many ways to cook turkey. Back in 2010 I smoked a turkey breast using a Satsuma Kumquat marinade that was out of sight and since then, I have used the same principle in creating many other recipes using roasters, pork ribs, crown roast and a pork loin. In fact, I used satsumas in several recipes in my new cookbook, Journal of Mobile’s Southern Cookery (see sidebar) and tell of the importance the crop had at one time for our area. The recipe today brings about a slightly less savor of citrus than the marinating method but it still produces a very tasty, ever-so-moist bird using the seasoned satsuma butter rub.
Roasted Citrus Turkey Breast
a moist and tender method with a slight fruit flavor
6 to 8 servings
1 – to 10 pound turkey breast, thawed
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoon salt-free Creole seasoning, divided
juice of 1 satsuma (or tangerine)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 satsuma (or tangerine) sectioned
1 apple, cut in eights
1 celery stalk, cut in thirds
1 cup chicken broth
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove giblet pack from cavity and rinse turkey under running water. Pat completely dry with paper towels. Sprinkle inside of cavity with 1/2-tablespoon creole seasoning.
Mix butter, 1-tablespoon creole seasoning, satsuma juice, salt, pepper together in a bowl and put aside.
Carefully separate skin from the meat on the top side of the breast. I use a stiff thin rubber spatula but fingers do just as well. Spoon about 1 1/2-tablespoons of butter mixture under skin on both sides of the breast. Massage skin to evenly distribute mixture. Rub remaining butter mixture over the top and sides of the breast. Place on a rack in a roaster and stuff the cavity with the satsuma, apple and celery. Position remaining fruit and celery under the sides.
Pour the broth in the bottom of the roaster and place pan in the center of oven. Turn oven temperature to 325 and roast for 30 minutes.
Baste with the pan drippings and every 15 minutes hereafter. Cover breast with foil to prevent over browning and to aid in moisture retention (yes, lift the foil to baste each time). Cook 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees on a meat thermometer. Be sure to place thermometer deep into the breast but away from bone.
Remove from oven and let rest before slicing.
Note: The drippings make a wonderful base for gravy.