Well I hadn't either until a few months back, but now that I've discovered them they are quickly becoming a frequent guest at our table. Many of the ones I'm seeing these days come pre-marinated in some sort of nasty chemical wash, and to those I urge you to say NO…… thank you very much. If you can find some plain ones though, pick them up and try this dish, you'll be hooked.
Like their petite cousins the chicken tenders, these meat spears are taken from the underside of the breast from a rarely used muscle that yields a terrifically tender piece of meat. They are naturally lean, but have a great texture and are an easy way to enjoy turkey without firing up a whole bird.
As the tenders are essentially devoid of fat a little brining is in order to impart some flavor and juiciness that would otherwise be lost in cooking. After that, a few quick minutes on the grill or in a sauté pan and they are ready to be paired with just about anything you want to throw their way. Slather them with bbq sauce, serve them up with a quick chimichurri, or do as we did here and snarf them down with a fresh mango salsa.
Cheers – Steve
- 3 turkey tenderloins, each cut lengthwise into 2 spears
for the brine:
- 8 cups cold water
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
for the salsa:
- 2 mangoes, peeled and cut into medium dice
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
- 4 peppadew peppers, diced
- 1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- 3 shallots, finely minced
- fresh juice of 2 limes
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, finely sliced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 finely chopped fresh mint
- kosher salt to taste
- Place the tenderloin spears into a large, gallon sized ziplok bag.
- Make the brine by whisking the salt and sugar into the water until they both dissolve fully. Add the peppercorns, garlic and bay and pour it over the turkey pieces in the bag. Press out as much air as possible, zip the bag and place it in your fridge for about 3 hours.
- Gently mix all of the salsa ingredients in a medium sized bowl, taste for seasoning, add more lime juice, salt or pepper to your liking, then cover and refrigerate.
- When you are ready to cook, remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well under cold water, then dry with paper towels.
- Season them lightly with salt and pepper and either grill over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes per side, or sauté in a little EVOO in as pan set over a medium-high flame until just cooked through, or an instant read thermometer reads 160℉ when inserted to the center of the piece.
- Pull from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes tented with foil. Serve with the mango salsa.