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?