Take turkey beyond the holidays

07/16/2013 2:27 PM

07/16/2013 2:27 PM

Turkey — it’s not just for Thanksgiving.

Ground turkey burgers have been a staple for health-conscious Americans in recent years. But this summer new cuts of turkey are landing on the grill. Turkey processors are offering smaller, flatter cuts as a quick-cooking option for consumers bent on convenience, according to eatturkey.com, a Web site sponsored by the National Turkey Federation.

Tenderloins are the whole muscle from inside the center of the breast and weigh between 7 to 15 ounces each. Tenderloins tend to taper from end to end, creating an unevenness that makes them difficult to cook evenly, so The Star’s recipe for Citrus Glazed Turkey uses cutlets instead. Cutlets are the boneless and skinless meat of the tenderloin that has been sliced across the grain. They typically weigh 3 to 6 ounces each and are up to 99 percent fat-free.

A lean protein source, a 3-ounce serving of boneless, skinless turkey breast cutlet contains 120 calories, 26 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat and 0 grams of saturated fat. Of course, the leaner the meat, the more chance there is of it drying out. To avoid this, our recipe incorporates a low-fat marinade to help the meat retain moisture.

Finally, when it comes to serving grilled turkey, we decided to skip the predictable cranberry sauce and try something seasonal instead with a spicy pineapple-orange marmalade sauce. Like cranberries, pineapple has both an astringency and sweetness that complements the neutral flavor of turkey. Pineapple also contains bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme that may lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, and manganese, an important bone-building mineral. Heating pineapple makes the soluble fiber more available for use by the body.

Cooking tip:

If you can’t find the smaller, flatter cutlets, buy a tenderloin and cut it across the grain to create your own cutlets.

To put some handsome crisscross grill marks on your cutlet, position meat at 10 o’clock on the grill. Halfway through cooking time, use a spatula to reposition cutlet at 2 o’clock; flip on the other side and repeat.

Pump it up: Although canned pineapple is most convenient, feel free to substitute fresh pineapple. Peak season for pineapple is March through July.

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