A classic, both in Elizabeth David’s day as well as today, turkey marsala isn’t at all outdated, just overlooked. It just tends to be overlooked, despite a satiating richness that belies its simplicity. It takes just 15 minutes to pull together and can easily be committed to memory—nifty traits that, let’s face it, ought never go out of style. As if that weren’t sufficient to woo you, the flavors are amenable to any season. During cooler times of year, consider a side of rice or barley. Or maybe mushrooms sautéed in butter with fresh herbs. Come spring, boiled new potatoes and some chicories or spring greens tossed with olive oil and lemon seems more than sufficient.–Renee Schettler Rossi
LC Exact Amounts [Warning! Spoiler Alert!] Note
You’ll find two approaches to this same recipe below. The one that appears at the end of this note is written rather loosely, in essay form, as Elizabeth David would want. Her wording is as spare as the ingredient list, mindful of not boring the home cook with the drudgery of specific temperatures or timing. We find it charming, albeit not altogether practical for those who prefer unerring precision. So we rewrote the recipe a second way, which you’ll probably find to be more familiar, that includes those essential details. Choose whichever version you please. Her original comes first, so as not to spoil things for those who like to engage their sense. Whichever you choose, we encourage you to follow not just the words, but your instincts.
Start with 4 to 6 turkey cutlets or cut 2 boneless turkey breast halves (about 1 1/4 pounds each) crosswise into 6 to 8 thick cutlets. Flatten them out a little on a wooden board, season them with salt and pepper, and dust them very lightly with flour. Melt a generous amount of butter in a frying pan (if they are all to be done at once you will probably need to keep two pans going at the same time) over medium to medium-high heat. Cook the fillets on both sides, gently, for the butter must not blacken or burn. When they are nearly done, which is to say, after about 2 minutes a side, pour over them first about 1/4 cup of Marsala, and after it has bubbled and amalgamated with the butter, pour over the same quantity of chicken or turkey stock. Cook in the open pan for another 2 or 3 minutes.
Turkey Cutlets with Marsala
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 15 M
- Enough for four to eight people
- 4 to 6 turkey cutlets, or 2 boneless turkey breast halves (about 1 1/4 pounds each), cut crosswise into 6 to 8 thick cutlets
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- A couple tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, depending on how decadent you feel
- 1/4 cup Marsala
- 1/4 cup homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
- 1. Flatten the cutlets or the turkey breast halves a little on a wooden board by placing them between sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and bashing them with a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy skillet. Season the turkey on both sides with salt and pepper and dust them very lightly with the flour.
- 2. Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. (If the cutlets are all to be done at once, you will probably need to keep two pans going at the same time, dividing the ingredients between them. Otherwise, work in batches, wiping out the pan and using additional butter for the second batch.) Tilt the pan to coat the bottom of the skillet with butter. Reduce the heat to medium, add the turkey, and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side, being mindful of the temperature so that the butter does not blacken or burn.
- 3. When the turkey is nearly done, pour the Marsala over the top. After it has bubbled and melded with the butter for a few seconds, pour over the chicken stock or broth. Cook for another 2 or 3 minutes while the liquid reduces slightly. Transfer the turkey to plates and spoon the sauce over the top.