Thursday, March 6, 2014

Crispy Turkey Scallopini

Sundays are my relax and chill out day. I sleep in, eat a big breakfast, watch some crappy television, read, blog, and hang out with George Michael (my dog). A few Sundays ago, I was watching The Barefoot Contessa and the episode was about Ina and Jeffrey Garten's 45th wedding anniversary. On the menu was a crispy chicken dish that came out looking incredibly delicious. Ina had gone to the butcher to get a whole chicken chopped into 8 pieces. She then dredged them in a dijon mustard and white wine mixture, rolled them around in breadcrumbs, and baked them. Watching that episode made me so hungry.

So, when dinnertime came around, inspired by Ina, I also made a crispy poultry dish. We had a package of turkey scallopini in the fridge that were begging to be breaded and that's what I did. I didn't follow Ina's instructions to a T though; I went my own way (as I tend to do).
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
1½ lbs turkey scallopini (4 to 6 pieces)
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 to 4 cups panko breadcrumbs
4 sprigs fresh thyme
6 to 8 cloves garlic
olive oil for pan frying
** you can use chicken tenders, chicken scallopini, turkey breast - almost any cut of poultry - you could even use pork or veal (though I'm not a fan of veal because I think it's mean to eat babies).

Mix together the mustard, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a wide and shallow dish. The dish should be large enough for the pieces of turkey to be moved around in.
Strip the thyme leaves off their stems and then give the leaves a good chop and mix them in with the panko.
Rinse the turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Often times, the turkey in my grocery store is packaged in a brine so it's good to give it a good rinse to get rid of some of the excess salt.
Dip the turkey in the mustard mixture and then press it into the breadcrumbs.
Heat a large skillet with a few smashed cloves of garlic. The garlic will gently flavor the oil which will then add another layer of flavor to the turkey. This is also a nice and subtle way to add a bit of garlic flavor without ruining anyone's breath. Okay, once the oil is sizzling, pan fry the turkey. It should cook on the first side for 3 to 4 minutes until it's crispy and the breadcrumbs are a lovely golden brown. Flip the turkey and cook on the second side for about 2 minutes until the breadcrumbs are a lovely golden brown. Repeat with the other garlic cloves and breaded turkey pieces.
Let the finished turkey sit on a paper towel-lined plate to allow the excess oil to be wicked away.
Serve alongside a plate of thin spaghetti tossed in bolognese or maybe with some sort of salad if you're watching your figure. Yum! The turkey is tender and flavorful and moist and crispy and the dijon mustard adds a nice layer of flavor, as does the lemon.
P.S. You can totally do the same thing to chicken (I prefer thighs, wahoo dark meat!) and bake them in the oven. I recommend breading the chicken normally and then drizzling a little bit of olive oil over each piece, which will add flavor but also ensure that the breading gets nice and crispy. The cooking time will depend on the size of the pieces but I recommend a 400F oven for around 25 minutes for thighs, flipping them halfway through. You could bake the turkey in the oven too but turkey scallopini is so thin, they'd dry out pretty quick in the oven before the breading had a chance to crisp up.
Here's the recipe page:

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