It tastes like…

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Over dinner in Cape Town one evening, the conversation turned to holidays, and one of my friends asked why Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving.  I’m not sure I had a good answer, but the next question had me truly at a loss for words – what does it taste like?  It was a good question.  I can describe what it taste like with other things, but the meat itself, not so much.  Because, it doesn’t taste like chicken…at least not to me.

When I first moved to Italy, I was surprised to see more turkey in the poultry section at the large supermarket than there was chicken.  I never imagined it was popular anywhere for anything more than Thanksgiving dinner, a sandwich filling, or as the dry, bland substitute for a fattier, more flavorful meat.  Then I was introduced to fresh sage, and it was like I discovered a whole new bird.

I’ve made saltimbocca (cutlets sautéed Roman-style with sage and proscuitto) with veal and chicken, but my absolute favorite way to enjoy it is with turkey.  I still don’t know quite how to describe the flavor of turkey by itself, but when it tastes so good this way, why describe anything less?

Saltimbocca di Tacchino alla Romana shown served with fresh gnocchi and pan-fried zucchini.

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