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Cooking with David

Turkey Piccata

Copyright © 2007 by David E. Ross

Traditionally, piccata refers to the use of lemon juice and parsley. The lemon juice is indeed still here, but I use capers instead of parsley.

1 lb turkey "cutlets" (raw turkey breast meat sliced about 1/4" thick)
2 heaping TBS bread crumbs
2 heaping TBS flour
1 tsp garlic powder
wax paper
1 TBS capers
2 TBS lemon juice
dry Vermouth
olive oil

Place the bread crumbs, flour, and garlic powder on a large plate. With a fork held flat to the plate, mix these dry ingredients thoroughly.

On a cutting board, use a meat mallet (the kind with spikes, used to tenderize tough meats) to pound the turkey thin. The turkey is already tender, so do not over-pound. The purpose is merely to make the meat thinner and spread it out wider. Do one cutlet at a time on both sides. When each is finished, cut the cutlet in half, following any tears that appeared during the pounding.

As each cutlet is through being pounded, drag its pieces one at a time across the plate with the dry ingredients to coat. Turn it over to coat the other side. Then move the breaded cutlet to another plate. When a layer of cutlets fills the second plate, cover that layer with a piece of wax paper to keep the next layer from sticking to the lower layer. When all cutlets have been pounded and breaded, allow them to stand for about 15-20 minutes.

While the cutlets are "resting", put the capers, lemon juice, and a generous splash of Vermouth into a blender or mini-processor. Blend just long enough to chop the capers fine without puréeing them.

In a large frying pan over a medium fire, sauté the cutlets in a small amount olive oil. Cook only as many pieces as will fit into the pan without overlapping. Sauté each side until it become lightly browned. This should not take much time since the meat is quite thin as a result of the pounding. As each cutlet is done, remove it to a serving platter, spreading them out on the platter. Add additional olive oil as the remaining cutlets are sautéed, but only enough to keep a thin coating of oil in the bottom of the frying pan.

When the last cutlet is done and removed from the frying pan, immediately pour the lemon-caper mix into the pan. Cook this sauce until it just begins to thicken, scraping the pan to loosen any residue from sautéing the meat. Pour the sauce over the cutlets.

Serves 3-4.

Veal cutlets or skinless, boneless chicken breasts may be substituted for the turkey. In this case, pounding is again needed only to make the meat thin and to spread it out.

"Soft" fish (e.g., catfish, sole, red snapper) may be substituted. In this case, do not pound; pounding will break the fish apart. Since the fish will likely be thicker than pounded turkey, it may have to be cooked longer.

Calamari steaks may be substituted for the turkey. In this case, pounding is also needed to make the meat tender.

For an elegant touch, sauté sliced fresh mushrooms in the same frying pan after cooking the meat and before cooking the sauce. Place the mushrooms on the meat before pouring the sauce over it.

14 March 2007

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