All right, sometimes we all crave something crispy and a little naughty on the health spectrum. For me, this usually involves fried chicken. To make it easier, I'll do a schnitzel because that was one of the first dishes I learned to make mostly because it was the only dish my mother could make decently. However, that said, I get bored from the usual chicken schnitzel/Austrian style. Sometimes I want something more, something different, something....interesting. So, I saw turkey cutlets at the store and the idea formed itself: turkey cutlets breaded schnitzel style with parmesan added to the breadcrumbs, fried to perfection and served with an amazing salad on the side. Done and done. Voila! This amazing dish was born. This is a wonderful meal that comes together pretty quickly, making it perfect for a busy week night. You'll feel slightly guilty with the fried panko and parmesan topping, but you'll taste one bite and get over it quickly. Bonus -- the colorful and super healthy kale and corn salad will help put you to ease. The kids and husby adored this dish, and I'm already being summoned to make it again. Do it!
4 turkey cutlets
salt and freshly ground black pepper
about 1 cup all purpose flour
1 extra large egg (you might need 2 if using smaller ones), lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack on top (preferably).
Take the cutlets and using a mallet, tenderize the cutlets. Do not obliterate them, but the goal here is to make them a little thinner. Turkey is tougher than chicken or even pork, so you won't get them the thinness of a traditional chicken or pork schnitzel; do your best and just get the meat a little bit thinner as much as you can without destroying the meat.
Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Now, traditionally I would set up a station for breading -- one shallow bowl for flour, one for egg, one for breadcrumbs. However, in my wisdom as a mother of three, I've found using those gallon sized plastic bags for the flour and breadcrumbs part is infinitely less of a mess and goes faster. Up to you. Either way, place the flour is one container; the egg lightly beaten in another, and combine the panko with the parmesan in another.
Heat a heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add enough oil to thinly cover the bottom of the pan. I like using a heavy cast iron skillet for this. It's important that you get the oil a perfect temperature for a perfect fry -- too hot and it'll burn the panko, too cold and you'll get a soggy cutlet. You know it's ready for frying when you can hold your palm of your hand over the top about 8 inches high for 1-2 seconds before you feel you need to move your hand.
Take a cutlet and dredge it in the flour -- meaning, cover it completely and totally in the flour. Remove and dust off any excess flour, then bath it in the egg, coating all sides. Promptly remove and dunk into the breadcrumb mixture, making sure to again cover all angles. Promptly take out and add to oil to fry. As that side is frying quickly being the next cutlet -- flour, egg, breadcrumbs again -- and add to the pan. As the second one is coming, it's probably time to turn the first one over on its other side. You want a nice golden crust on both sides. As the first cutlet is golden on both sides, remove and set on the wire rack on the baking sheet. Keep repeating this with the rest of the cutlets until all four are fried and on the wire rack.
Pop the cutlets in the oven to finish cooking through, about 5 minutes. Because the turkey is thicker, you'll probably have to finish them in the oven like this; working with thinner chicken or pork you could skip this step.
Serve piping hot with a wedge of lemon if desired to be squeezed on top. Serve with the corn and kale salad.
To make the kale and corn salad: Take the kale and chop it up into larger bite-sized pieces, about 1.5 inches large. Take the corn and cut the kernels off the cob; set aside.
Heat about a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the kale and season with a little salt and pepper (helps to wilt the kale), and cook on medium-low heat until just wilted. Cover with the lid of the pan to help create a steam effect, aiding in the wilting. Stir often so as not to burn the kale. The kale will turn a bright, deep green color and wilt down; as soon as it does this, remove it from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan add another tablespoon of olive oil (you'll notice the kale will absorb the prior oil used, leaving a dry pan). Add the corn kernels and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the corn on medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 7-8 minutes. The corn will turn bright yellow and become tender. The natural sugars in the corn will also release, lightly caramelizing the corn. This is why we use fresh corn for this! Add the kale back into the pan along with the garlic, and mix to combine. Cook another 2 minutes or so then remove mixture into a large mixing bowl.
While the corn and kale still quite warm, add the red onion, lemon juice, and another good drizzle of oil. Mix and taste, then adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to your taste. Serve warm or at room temperature (or even cold).