What do you do when Thanksgiving means only a few at the table? You could roast a turkey breast and make smaller portions of the usual sides. Or you could put together a fancy-looking dinner without too much fuss.
When we lived in the Midwest everyone was too far and didn't have enough time off of work to drive 13-14 hours to our house and the same was true for us going down to Louisiana. Thanksgiving was often for three.
Maybe you're in this situation? You want to do something special, but you don't have a lot of people to cook for.
Recently we had a mini Thanksgiving, just the three of us, with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Onions with Rosemary and Parmesan and Turkey Cutlets w/ Pecan-Sage Sauce.
The Pecan-Sage Sauce...I'm wild about it. It is nutty, herby, garlicky. It is perfect for Thanksgiving and is also the perfect topping for pecan-Parmesan crusted turkey cutlets.
The sweet potatoes can be made ahead and reheated on the stove top for extra ease.
We enjoyed our mini TG (and the leftovers--this was still a lot of food) but are also looking forward to the traditional Thanksgiving foods like Cajun Fried Turkey, Sweet Potato Crunch, and Pecan Pie when family arrives on Thursday.
(Mini or large)
Crispy Turkey Cutlets with Pecan-Sage Sauce
slightly adapted from Food & Wine, October 2007
1 1/4 cups pecans
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs (I like to use panko)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper
small handful sage leaves, coarsely chopped (about half a package)
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1 pound turkey cutlets
In a food processor, pulse 3/4 cup of the pecans with the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese until the pecans are finely ground. Transfer to a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Wipe out the bowl of the food processor. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of pecans along with the sage and garlic and pulse until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Add the butter and 1/2 cup of the olive oil and process until the nuts are finely chopped and the butter is incorporated. I prefer the sauce to be more of a paste or pesto--if you'd like it to be a looser consistency, add more oil. Season the sauce generously with salt and pepper and transfer to a small bowl.
Put the flour and eggs in 2 shallow bowls. Season the turkey cutlets with salt and pepper, then dust them with flour, tapping off the excess. Dip the cutlets in the beaten eggs, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Dip the cutlets in the pecan-breadcrumb mixture, pressing the crumbs into the cutlets.
In a very large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the cutlets. If needed, do this in batches. Fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden outside and cooked through. Transfer the cutlets to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Serve topped with the pecan-sage sauce.