Slay to Gourmet: Wild Turkey

[shareprints gallery_id=”28103″ gallery_type=”squares” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”xlarge” image_padding=”3″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”popout” lightbox_type=”slide” comments=”false” sharing=”true”] Turkey Schnitzel

  • 4 turkey portions, lightly pounded
  • Bowl of all-purpose flour
  • Bowl of 5 eggs, whipped
  • Bowl of panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • Salt

First, you’ll want to take some thin slices of turkey off the breasts, against the grain. To pound the turkey, place the turkey in between two sheets of plastic wrap and, on a sturdy work surface, begin to gently pound the meat. A meat mallet works best, but a rolling pin works in a pinch. Try your best to get achieve an even thickness of around ¼ inch to ensure an evenly cooked end result.

Once you have your meat to your desired thickness, set your bowls next to each other in the order of flour, eggs, and panko. Salt your turkey, and then place it in the flour bowl to coat. Shake off any extra flour and dip the turkey into the egg wash and finally into the panko, making sure it’s fully covered with breadcrumbs. Repeat the process with all of the portions, stack them on a plate, and set aside.

To fry, preheat a well-seasoned cast-iron pan. Add about an eighth-inch of grapeseed oil, bringing it to just smoking, and fry the breaded turkey quickly on either side until it’s lightly browned. Pat dry with a paper towel, and it’s ready to serve.

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Warm spinach and bacon salad // Photo by Matt Lien

Warm Spinach and Bacon Salad

  • 4 strips of smoky bacon cut into lardons
  • 4 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 medium shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • Salt

This is a fun salad to make. The vinaigrette is made by the rendered bacon fat, so depending on if it’s an especially fatty belly or an especially lean belly you may need to add more acidity or oil to the salad. Sample it as you go to see if it needs more acidity or oil to taste balanced.

In a small sauté pan, cook your bacon until it’s almost crispy and add the shallots. Cook until the shallots are translucent. Remove from the burner, but keep the pan in a warm.

Separately, in a metal mixing bowl, place the vinegar, Dijon, salt, and spinach together. Get your pan with the bacon, shallots, and bacon fat hot again and pour the contents over the spinach. Toss it to gently wilt the spinach. You can place to pan over the bowl to help trap some of the steam if needed.

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Ramp pesto // Photo by Matt Lien

Ramp Pesto

  • 10 cleaned ramps
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 2 lemons
  • Salt
  • Grapeseed oil

Separate the ramp tops and bottoms. Thinly slice the ramp bottoms and pour the juice of two lemons over them in a bowl and set aside. Place the tops into a food processor with the pine nuts, salt, and grapeseed oil. Blend them until all the big chunks are gone; add enough grapeseed oil to make it look like a traditional pesto consistency.

Immediately before serving, combine the ramp bottoms with the tops and taste for salt and acidity. It might help to add the lemon juice a little at a time until you get the flavor you’re looking for.

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Turkey schnitzel with ramp pesto, and warm spinach and bacon salad // Photo by Matt Lien

To plate: Place the fried turkey schnitzel atop a bed of the ramp pesto, and finish with a good amount of spinach and bacon salad on the side. Enjoy!

For more cooking tips, follow @TheMinnesotaSpoon on Instagram or Facebook, or go to to see some previous recipes.

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