Turkey breast cutlets make healthy dinners

Published 11:59 pm Friday, March 13, 2009

(AP) – Boneless turkey breast cutlets have almost no fat and cook quickly, making them an outstanding choice for healthy weeknight dinners. Unfortunately, no fat can mean no flavor.

This recipe for quick turkey puttanesca uses a simple pan saute technique to cook the cutlets, but the cure for humdrum flavor is in the spicy tomato sauce you make in the same pan.

Puttanesca is a traditional Italian pasta sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, capers, olives and spicy red pepper flakes. And puttanesca has as lively as story as it does a flavor.

Originally from Naples, puttanesca roughly translates to “pasta the way a streetwalker would make it,” the implication being fast enough to prepare between clients.

And fast is good, especially in combination with quick-cooking turkey cutlets, which can be purchased fresh and frozen. They usually are offered as large slices from the main lobe of the breast, or as narrower pieces cut from the breast tenderloin. If you like, you can buy a whole turkey tenderloin and slice it lengthwise to make your own cutlets.

Turkey breast cutlets can be used in almost any recipe that calls for boneless chicken breast, though you’ll need to reduce the cooking time because it can toughen and dry out quickly.

When prepping the ingredients for the sauce, be sure to rinse the capers thoroughly. This washes away a good amount of the salty brine the capers are packed in, and leaves them with a cleaner flavor.

Stir a teaspoon of anchovy paste into the sauce if you want to add a bit more richness without adding much fat (or the fishy flavor you would expect). This versatile product is sold in tubes and can be found alongside the canned fish.

To soak up all the delicious sauce, serve turkey puttanesca whole-grain pasta or a chunk of crusty bread.


Start to finish: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound turkey cutlets

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup pitted and chopped green olives

2 teaspoons capers, rinsed

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

In a shallow dish, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Dredge the turkey cutlets through the four mixture to coat both sides.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the cutlets and cook until lightly browned on both sides and no longer pink at the center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the remaining oil and the garlic to the skillet, stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano and red pepper flakes. Increase the heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in parsley. Season the sauce with additional salt and pepper, if needed, and serve spooned over the turkey cutlets.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 252 calories; 83 calories from fat; 9 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 45 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrate; 30 g protein; 2 g fiber; 770 mg sodium.