Cook the Book: Turkey Piccata

If it were up to me the traditional turkey-and-all-of-the-trimmings meal would happen way more than once a year, but sometimes I forget that not everyone loves turkey as much as I do. For those of you who need more of an easing in period leading up to turkey day, this Turkey Piccata from Alton Brown's Good Eats 2: The Middle Years, is a good place to start.

The recipe takes a boneless turkey breast (much more readily available than the whole bird for the bulk of the year) and treats it almost identically to the more typical chicken piccata. It's a simple preparation—pound, season, flour, and fry. The butter and oil that the turkey slices are fried in acts as the base for the sauce of shallots, white wine, and lemon juice. Since the preparation and cooking time is so minimal the flavors of all of the components really come through—crisp on the outside turkey that doesn't have a chance to dry out bathed in a lemony bright sauce. I served mine with a side of briefly sautéed kale and let the piccata sauce run into the greens and dress them on the plate. Not your typical Thanksgiving turkey but a good intro into bird season.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Good Eats: The Middle Years to give away this week.

Adapted from Good Eats: The Middle Years by Alton Brown. Copyright © 2010. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

Cook the Book: Turkey Piccata

About This Recipe



  • One 1 1/2- to 2-pound boneless turkey breast
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


  1. 1

    Heat the oven to 200°F.

  2. 2

    Cut the turkey breast crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Set the pieces of turkey, one at a time, on a large piece of plastic wrap, lightly spritz the top of the turkey with water, fold the plastic wrap over the turkey, and spritz the top of the plastic wrap with water. Pound to no less than 1/8 inch thick.

  3. 3

    Season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper and then dredge in flour. Shake off the excess flour. Set aside.

  4. 4

    Heat the oil and 4 tablespoons of the butter in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, but not yet smoking, brown the turkey, about 1 minute on each side, then remove to an ovenproof platter. Place in the oven to keep warm.

  5. 5

    Reduce the heat to low and add the shallots to the pan. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until they begin to turn translucent. Add the wine and lemon juice to the pan and simmer until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if necessary. Pour the sauce over the turkey, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve immediately.


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