Sunday, November 6, 2011

Giving Thanks for Food: Turkey Scallopini

I have a confession: I don't like "traditional" Thanksgiving food.  Roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls...none of it excites me, no matter how expertly it's prepared.  For years, Thanksgiving seemed like an obligation, not a holiday: Spend hours cooking bland food for men watching football, then eat for 20 minutes, then spend hours more handwashing china while said men watched more football and napped.  No fun.  I had a major Turkey Day Attitude Problem.

So when the Thanksgiving dinner torch was officially passed to me six years ago, I decided to go a different route and spin traditional flavors into modern comfort food favorites.  Cranberry relish became cranberry martinis; corn became pan-fried polenta; dense rolls became airy popovers; pumpkin and pecan pies became pumpkin praline cheesecake. Thanksgiving dinner became fun to prepare, and really fun to eat.

The biggest hit of all, however, the dish that is now "tradition" in our house, the one that keeps my husband happy, is Turkey Scallopini.  The turkey is merely a vehicle for all of the goodness that is panko, butter, artichoke hearts, capers, and cream.  Low-fat?  Nope.  But it is the holidays, after all.  Indulgence is permissible.

Here's my Turkey Scallopini recipe to feed 6-8 people (measurements are approximate, as I am not a precise cook; if in doubt, just add more....):

9-12 turkey breast cutlets pounded to 1/4 inch
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs + 4 T water (or egg substitute -- I use Eggbeaters)
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup good white wine
1 cup low-sodium turkey or chicken broth
1 small jar of capers, rinsed
1 large can of artichoke hearts, no marinade, quartered
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper
2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a shallow dish, mix flour with salt and pepper.  In a bowl, beat eggs and water.  On a plate, combine panko and parmesan.  Dredge turkey cutlets in flour mixture; dip in eggwash; coat with mixture of panko and parmesan.  Heat olive oil and butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.  Cook turkey on both sides until it is cooked through and golden-brown in color, about 4-6 minutes total. Transfer to a warm platter and cover.  Work with the turkey cutlets in batches, if necessary.

Add broth and white wine to skillet and deglaze over moderate-high heat, scraping up brown bits.  Bring to a quick boil and then reduce. Add capers, artichoke hearts, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add cream and parsley; simmer until heated through.  Pour sauce over turkey on platter and serve immediately.


The best part?  It doesn't take long to make.  No more rising at dawn to put the turkey in the oven!  And it's also inexpensive; I always have most of the staples on hand and the turkey breast cutlets usually cost less than $10 to feed 6-8 adults.  It's seriously yummy, and I promise, no one will miss the stuffed bird!


I'll share examples of my past Thanksgiving menus soon; in the meantime, you can see pictures of my Thanksgiving tablescapes here.  I now look forward to putting a creative spin on this traditional meal!

What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?


  1. Clink! I'm toasting you with my cranberry martini - and can't wait to try this recipe for Thanksgiving. Now I'm going to be a total pest and bug you for the polenta and cheesecake recipes...

    If you are ever in the area visiting family, I would love to meet you!

    xoxo michele

  2. That looks so yummy and sounds like a welcome addition to the Thanksgiving table. I am a new follower from Just Something I Whipped Up. Vicky from Mess For Less