Nov 13, 2013 4:30 PM by Jennifer English
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and every year around this time, I start cooking what I call my companion birds. Those extra roasted pieces; split kosher turkey breasts, drumsticks, turkey tenderloins that will become the surfeit of white or dark meat to satisfy any family table. I maintain that cooking one enormous turkey is a daunting culinary task. I do not believe it yields the best flavor bang for the effort required. I generally will plan on preparing a 12-14 pound Centerpiece Turkey and then offering additional sliced white meat from a split kosher turkey breast or two. Since the desired outcome is flavorful moist roast turkey meat (with enough left over for classic leftover sandwiches with stuffing and cranberry!) I have found this to be the best tactic.
My friend Chef Virginia Willis produces this wonderful turkey tenderloin recipe. Chef Willis is a genius at delivering rich, bright seasonal flavor in a healthy package. She is renowned for her classically trained Southern Culinary expertise, but at this time of the year that translates quite neatly into Classic American Cuisine. This recipe is gluten free and stars two of the season's most important players;turkey and pecans. The original recipe calls for Georgia pecans. But in Arizona, we have the local Green Valley Pecans to show-off and celebrate. This recipe is a stunning example of how the technique of brining keeps the turkey meat ultra moist. This might just become one of my Thanksgiving table Companion birds this year. Thank you Chef Willis.
Recipe Serves 4
Brining the turkey in buttermilk, salt, and sugar for 30 minutes helps insure the turkey stays moist and tender. The cutlets are seared in a minimum of oil in the skillet then baked over a wire rack so the flavorful pecan crust cooks crispy and delicious.
1 pound turkey tenderloin, cut crosswise into 4 equal portions
2 cups nonfat buttermilk,
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup gluten free Kellogg's® Rice Krispies®, crushed
1/2 cup finely chopped Green Valley Pecans
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
Place one portion of turkey at a time between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even thickness, slightly thicker than 1/4 inch. (It will be about the size of your hand.)
Pour the buttermilk in a bowl. Add salt and sugar; seal and stir to dissolve. Add the turkey and submerge. Cover and refrigerate to marinate for 30 minutes (but no longer or it may be too salty).
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet.
Combine egg whites, mustard, paprika, and pepper in a shallow dish. Combine cereal and pecans in a 2nd shallow dish. Remove the turkey from the marinade and discard the marinade. Using tongs dredge the turkey in the egg mixture, allowing the excess to drip back into the dish to ensure a very thin coating. Then, dredge both sides in the cereal mixture, pressing the crumbs onto each piece to evenly coat.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 of the pieces in the pan without crowding; cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the wire rack on the baking sheet. Wipe out the pan and repeat with the remaining oil and turkey, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a cutlet registers 165°F, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately. Recipe by Chef Virginia Willis.