Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Turkey Piccata

Good evening everyone! Chances are, if you have a moderately equipped kitchen, you’ll find a meat tenderizer / mallet in one of the drawers. It’s a common item to find in many kitchens, yet it seems many at home chefs only break it out once in a long while. We’re just as guilty of this as anyone. We have a nice sturdy meat tenderizer that only gets use once every few months.

It’s a shame because a meat tenderizer can be a useful tool in the kitchen that allows you to modify or adapt countless recipes. It can shorten cooking times, allow you to play with different cooking methods and, as always, it’s a built in stress reliever.

Don’t have a meat tenderizer? No biggie – you can achieve the same results with a pie plate and a heavy canned good. However, if you’re in the market for a meat tenderizer, here are a few things to remember:
1)      Metal, not wood – Metal is heavier, meaning less effort and easier to clean than wood
2)      Avoid the “prongs” – those little “teeth” on the end of a tenderizing mallet do little to tenderizer and tend to tear things apart. Good for a flat, smooth surface
3)      Look for a matte finish – the matte finish reduces friction, meaning your mallet won’t grab the meat and pull at it.

Once you have a mallet and the ambition, you’ll find there are quite a few recipes out there that take advantage of flat(tened) cooking. We’re getting started tonight with a recipe from Alton Brown’s ‘Good Eats’:

The Recipe: Turkey Piccata 
Original Recipe From: ‘Good Eats: Flat is beautiful II’

What You’ll Need:
1 Large Turkey Breast
6 Tablespoons Butter (Divided)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ Cup Flour
1 Shallot (Diced fine)
½ Cup White Wine
Juice From 1 Lemon

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Begin preparing your turkey by slicing it horizontally into ½ inch thick pieces. Next, place a large sheet of plastic wrap on top of a cutting board. Place a slice of turkey on the plastic wrap (favoring the left side) then give the right side of the plastic wrap a light misting of water from a spray bottle. Fold this part of the plastic wrap over the turkey and then spray the top of the plastic wrap as well. The water reduces the friction to the turkey, meaning it will flatten evenly, rather than “catching” onto the mallet or plastic wrap and tearing while you pound.

Using your mallet or the pie plate / can (or even a heavy frying pan) pound the turkey until it is approximately doubled in size and reduced to 1/8 inch thickness. Remember, turkey is relatively delicate and will tear if you just go to town on the meat. Use efficient, well placed strikes to flatten each piece carefully. Transfer the flattened turkey to a plate and repeat until all pieces are flattened to the desired thickness.

Next, add the flour to a shallow dish or pie plate. Season the top of a turkey cutlet with salt and pepper (we’ll call this side A) and then place side A down into the flour. Season the other side (side B) with salt and pepper before flipping the cutlet and dredging that side through the flour as well. Shake the cutlet to allow the excess flour to fall off before transferring it to a plate. Repeat this process until all of the cutlets are covered in flour. (Discard any remaining flour).

In a large (12 inch) non stick skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter alongside 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Once the butter begins foam and develops a nutty aroma, place two turkey cutlets into the skillet. Cook for approximately 1 minute before flipping and cooking the other side for an additional minute. This should develop a deep golden brown crust on the outside of the cutlets. (If the cutlets are not browned to your liking, alternate cooking 30 seconds per side until they develop the correct color. Keep a close watch on them, however, as they are thin and will cook quickly). Transfer the completed cutlets to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and store them in the 200 degree oven until all of the cutlets have been cooked.

Once each cutlet is cooked and safely store in the oven, you can begin making the sauce. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet (leave all the remnants from prior cooking). Once the butter is melted, add the shallots and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until they become softened and translucent.

Add the white wine and allow the mixture to simmer for about 1 minute before adding the lemon juice. Stirring occasionally, allow the mixture to simmer and reduce until it thickens slightly. This takes about 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the turkey cutlets to a serving platter and pour the sauce over the cutlets. Top with parsley and enjoy!

The Results:

These flavor little cutlets were quite delectable. They were perfectly cooked, while still moist in the center and the light breading complimented the turkey beautifully. The star of the dish is the sauce, full of rich nutty flavor while being accented by the bright white wine and lemon juice flavors, it truly took the dish to a whole new plane.

These little cutlets only took about 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish – adding further credence to the need to break out our mallet more often (thinner meats equals quicker eats...ha!)

That’s all we have for you this evening. Maggie will take to the kitchen tomorrow evening with a brand new dish of her own. Until then,


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