Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Turkey Cutlets

I've recently discovered the key to tasty poultry is brining. It works well on pork too, but I've mostly been using it for turkey and chicken which tend to dry out once it is thoroughly cook. Basically, a brine is a salt (and sometimes sugar) solution with the liquid usually being water. The meat is then placed in the solution where it then absorbs the water as the salt relaxes the muscle structure allowing it to retain more moisture during the cooking process thereby resulting in moister end product.

WOW, I sort of felt like Alton brown for a minute---but not completely. I did not go into how there are two positively charged ions in table salt and how they interact with the positive and negative protein molecules in meat (hence the relaxing of the meat structure).

So brining is awesome and you should try it! If you only have 20 minutes, brine! It will help.

On to the turkey cutlets....

1 package turkey breast cutlets (about 1 1/2lbs 1/4-1/2 inch thick)
1/4 cup table salt
4 cups cold water
gallon size ziplock bag

1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (approx 1 cup dried bread crumbs)
3/4 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tbsp olive oil, plus olive oil for frying

Add cold water to ziplock bag and dissolve 1/4 cup salt into the water. Add turkey cutlets and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Or if you're like me and wait to the last minute to thaw your meat, you can leave your bag on the counter top for the 30 minute period to finish thawing while brining.

While waiting for my turkey, I make my bread crumbs. I take 4-5 slices of white bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes then put in the food processor and pulse a few times. You may certainly use dried bread crumbs (I've used both), I prefer the taste of fresh.

Prepare 3 dredging bowls-
1 with flour
1 with 2 eggs and 1 tbsp olive oil
1 with bread crumbs

Remove the turkey from the bag and place onto an absorbant cloth or paper towels. Press firmly to remove as much water as you can then allow to air dry for 10 minutes. Once they are dry, season with pepper if you would like (we don't) and prepare to dredge.

Add oil to your pan, you're looking to have enough oil to fully cover a cutlet halfway up the side. So if your cutlets are 1/4 thick then you need a smaller amount of oil than you would need for a 1/2 thick cutlet (this would be more like a flattened chicken breast). I usually start with 1/2 cup. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until rippling begins.

Now dredge lightly. The order is flour, egg, bread crumbs. Shake off any excess flour, you want a very thin coating. Use tongs to remove cutlets from egg and bread crumbs or you will quickly find that your fingertips are unusable.

Once oil is hot, add 3-4 pieces to the pan...don't overcrowd! leave plenty of room for each edge to brown. Once you see a deep golden brown color inching up the side of the cutlet, turn it over. This should only take a minute or two for very thin cutlets.

Continue to use the oil if you do not see dark brown bits adhering to your cutlets. I usually find I can get two batches out of 1/2 cup of oil. Beyond that, the bits in the pan are burning and don't taste so good on your turkey. If you need to do more than two batches or you're working with thicker cuts of meat, pour off the oil, wipe pan clean with paper towels and start again.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

Amanda!!! Hello!! I found your blog when I was looking at Kathy's tonight. I am so glad I did. I actually brined my Turkey this year for Thanksgiving- the whole darn thing!! It fit in my stock pot and we had to rubberband the lid on upside down to keep the turkey submerged. Anyway- it was the BEST Turkey we had ever had- my husband raved! Miss you!