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Tarragon Adds Punch To Turkey Scaloppine

By Charlotte Balcomb Lane Knight-Ridder/Tribune

Few ingredients pack as much punch in a pinch as tarragon. This herb, with its cooling, aniselike flavor, is underrated in American cooking but very popular in country French cuisine. Its distinctive taste works magic on mild foods such as poultry, fish and eggs.

In this recipe for Turkey Scaloppine Tarragon, tarragon combines with turkey breast, mushrooms and red pepper to create a fast and ultra-flavorful summer supper. The flavor is reminiscent of bearnaise sauce, minus the high-fat butter and egg yolks. Just 24 percent of the calories in this dish come from fat.

The recipe starts with thin slices of skinless turkey called scaloppine. Scaloppine are often sold already sliced in packages in supermarkets; if you don’t see them, ask the meat cutter to prepare them for you. Ask for slices about a quarter-inch thick, cut against the grain. If the slices are too thick, pound them gently with a meat pounder or coffee mug. To minimize cleanup, pound the meat between two pieces of plastic wrap, then discard the plastic.

By the way, if you are growing herbs, be sure to plant French tarragon and avoid Mexican tarragon. Mexican tarragon grows faster and spreads quickly, but lacks the pungent flavor of true French tarragon.

Turkey Scaloppine Tarragon

12 ounces skinless turkey breast, sliced into scaloppine (about 1/4 inch thick)

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, crushed through a press

3/4 cup low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried tarragon or 4 tablespoons chopped, fresh tarragon

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the flour and salt on a flat dish. Dredge each slice of turkey in flour and shake off the excess; set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, red pepper and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add the turkey slices and saute over medium high heat until both sides are golden brown.

Return the mushroom mixture to the skillet and stir in the chicken broth, tarragon, lemon juice and black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and quickly reduce heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, watching to prevent the liquid from boiling away. The sauce will thicken slightly; there should be about 5 tablespoons of liquid left in the pan.

Serve each scaloppine with some of the vegetables and sauce, accompanied by cooked rice or pasta.

Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 253 calories, 6.8 grams fat (24 percent fat calories), 30 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrate, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 438 milligrams sodium.

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