By Josh Boyd
The spring of the year brings strutting toms, boisterous hens, and the unmistakably refreshing sounds of gobbles ringing out over the rural landscape. This time of the year is magical in a sense and sees us once again returning to the field with family and friends to pit ourselves against nature.
For those successful in their endeavors, spring brings something else altogether. A punched turkey tag offers far more than a hero shot of a lucky hunter and his or her longbeard. The wonderful meat that is yielded is the true measure of success when everything goes as it should in the spring turkey woods.
With meat in hand, hunters nationwide seek out the best possible way to take their turkey from field to fork, in a manner that yields nothing short of culinary perfection. One such recipe that delivers time and time again is that of Italian Dressing Turkey Breast.
This recipe is far easier to cook than many would think, and offers a tasty meal that the whole family can enjoy.
Prepare The Breast
Begin by placing the number of turkey breasts that you choose to cook out on a cutting board or similar work surface. Glance over the breasts to ensure that no feather remnants remain and that no sign of shot entry into the breast exists.
With the turkey breasts clean and free of any imperfections, you will now tenderize them with the use of a tenderizing mallet. It is no secret that turkey, if ill-prepared, can become dry and tough. Tenderizing assists in softening these tissues, and aids in the breast’s absorption of the marinade to come.
Tenderize any breasts that are to be prepared, on both sides. A few strikes of the hammer will be all that is needed to complete this task, as excess hammering will quickly render the breast paper-thin.
You will now cut the breasts into strips by cutting them in a lengthwise fashion. The width at which you cut these strips can be highly variable and comes down to a matter of personal preference.
Mix Up Your Marinade
While store-bought Italian dressing can be used as a matter of convenience, especially when faced with time constraints, homemade Italian dressing seems to yield a tastier finished product and can be tweaked at a later date to fit your tastes.
The following is a recipe for homemade Italian dressing that is sure to impress all who consume it:
* ¾ cup olive oil
* ¼ cup red or white wine vinegar
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* 1 tsp dried oregano
* 1 tsp dried basil
* ½ tsp onion powder
* ½ tsp crushed red pepper
* ¾ tsp salt
* ½ tsp pepper
* 1 tsp lemon juice
Once all ingredients have been added, mix them thoroughly in a bowl and pour the mixture into a 1-gallon zip-lock bag. You will now add your turkey breast strips into the mixture, shaking the bag to ensure that all are adequately coated in dressing.
Place the zip-lock bag with breast strips and dressing into the refrigerator to allow marinating to take place. The length of time in which the breasts are to marinate can range from 1-8 hours and depends upon how strong you would like the Italian dressing taste to be.
Grill To Perfection
At this point, you will preheat your grill to bring it up to temperature. The grill should be set to medium heat for the best results.
With the grill heated, begin placing your turkey breast strips onto its cooking surface, ensuring that they are evenly spaced from one another. It also helps to make sure that all strips are laying flat on the grilling surface, as this promotes an even finish throughout.
Allow the breast strips to cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side. Exact cooking times can vary, as the heat produced by one grill often varies from that of another.
The best way to ensure that your turkey breast strips are cooked throughout is to analyze the fluid that cooks out from within. When undercooked, this fluid will have a pink tinge. On the contrary, when cooking is complete, this fluid will take on a clear appearance.
It is of the utmost importance to prevent overcooking, as this will result in a dry, undesirable finished product.
A Dish For The Family
Perhaps the finest point regarding this dish is that it can be cut up into bite-size portions that children cannot seem to get enough of. With your family bellied up to the table, enjoying the bounty of yet another fruitful spring, good times are sure to be had by all. Your only worry will be whether or not your annual allowance of turkey tags will suffice to cover the influx of dinner requests that are sure to follow.