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Turkey steaks get a spicy accent

I have been on a turkey steak kick for some time now, using theinexpensive and healthful cuts from the breast for all sorts of quick recipes. Like chicken, turkey is extremely versatile because of its neutral flavor.

The origin of this recipe is a bottle of mustard seeds that I wanted to experiment with. Mustard seeds come in three varieties: black, dark reddish-brown and yellowish. The yellow seeds are most common in American supermarkets.

Indian cuisine employs black seeds extensively, often roasted and ground to a powder.

Crushed mustard seeds were used as condiments by ancient Egyptians.

The Romans introduced mustard seeds to Gaul, where they were ground and used in sauces. In the Middle Ages the seeds were prized for their supposed medicinal value.

I like the subtle heat of whole mustard seeds when they are pressed into meat. In this recipe I season the turkey steaks with salt and ground black pepper, then press mustard seeds on both sides.

When the turkey is seared over high heat, the mustard seeds toast.

The piquant seeds marry well with the sauce of shallots, tomatoes, vinegar and chicken broth. After you make the dish once, the amount of mustard seed may be varied to taste.

A vibrant side dish that adds color and texture is julienne of carrots with snow peas; a slight Oriental twist comes from soy sauce, olive oil garlic, scallions and pepper. Potatoes sauteed with garlic round out the meal.

Turkey Steaks With Mushrooms and Mustard Seeds 4 tablespoons olive oil 4 slices turkey breast, about 1/3 pound each Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 3 tablespoons mustard seeds 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic 3/4 cup ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar 1/3 cup fresh or canned chicken broth 1 tablespoon butter 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley or any fresh herb

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a nonstick skillet large enough to hold all the turkey pieces in one layer.

Sprinkle the turkey slices with salt and pepper and press mustard seeds on both sides. Add the slices to the skillet and saute over high heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the meat to a serving platter and keep it warm.

Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper. Stir and cook over high heat until lightly browned.

Add the shallots and garlic. Stir briefly and add the tomatoes, vinegar and broth.

Add any liquid that may have accumulated around the turkey. Reduce the liquid by half, stirring in the butter and parsley. Pour the sauce over the turkey slices and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Julienne of Carrots With Snow Peas 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and trimmed 1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic 1 tablespoon light soy sauce 2 tablespoons chopped scallions Freshly ground pepper to taste

Slice the carrots into julienne strips about 1 1/2 inches long.

Place the carrots in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer 4 minutes. Add the snow peas, bring to a boil, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Drain.

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the carrots, snow peas, garlic, soy sauce, scallions and pepper. Stir and cook 1 minute. Serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Potatoes Sauteed With Garlic 4 large Idaho potatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 tablespoon butter Salt and freshly ground pepper 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Peel the potatoes and cut them into slices slightly more than

1/2-inch wide. Cut each slice into 1/2-inch strips. Cut the strips into cubes. Rinse in cold water and drain.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and add the potatoes. Cook, shaking the skillet and turning the potatoes so they cook evenly. Cook over high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Drain the potatoes in a colander.

Return the potatoes to the skillet and add the butter, salt and pepper. Cook about 1 minute, stirring often. Add the garlic and blend.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.