Dinner Tonight: Turkey Schnitzel + Champagne Cocktail

Post-holiday doldrums can be killer. You're trying to be so good, but salad for dinner just doesn't cut the mustard in the middle of winter, and you can only have lentil soup so many nights in a row before you're having legume-filled nightmares. Fight those blues with some celebratory fare fit for a midweek slump. Who says sparkling wine must be saved for a New Year's toast? Isn't putting in a full day's work reason enough to pop at least a little prosecco? We say yes, and so does our Booze52 columnist, Erika Kotite, whose Champagne Cocktail is as fizzily festive as it is easy to make. Paired with a crispy turkey dinner -- schnitzel in this case -- it makes for fabulous weeknight vittles. Cheers to another weeknight supper! Because, why not?

The Menu

Turkey Schnitzel with Leeks and Butter Sage Sauce by ccincalif

Serves 4

For the Turkey Schnitzel:

1 pound turkey cutlets
Kosher salt
1/2 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup homemade breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin) or more as needed

1. Soak the turkey cutlets in water for 30 minutes. Drain and place on a cooling rack over the sink, sprinkling both sides lightly with Kosher salt. Leave for 15 minutes (meanwhile, make the sage sauce, below) then rinse and pat dry with paper towel.

2. Place the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs in separate bowls (that can accommodate the size of the cutlets). Begin dipping the cutlets in the flour, then coat in egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Set on a large sheet of wax paper.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, then begin frying cutlets until thoroughly cooked, and golden brown on both sides. Place on paper towel-lined plate and keep warm until ready to serve with sauce.

For the Leeks and Butter Sage Sauce:

1 thinly sliced large leek
5 tablespoons cubed unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil (not extra virgin)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh sage
Salt and pepper

1. Sauté leeks in 1 tablespoon of butter and the olive oil, over medium heat for a few minutes until soft. Increase the heat to medium heat and add the wine. After about a minute, add the chicken broth and continue to cook to reduce by about half.

2. Lower the burner to medium, add the cream and stir well. Begin adding one tablespoon of butter, one at a time, until each one has melted. After all the butter has been added, stir in the sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot over turkey schnitzel cutlets.

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Champagne Cocktail

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The Grocery List

Serves 4

1 pound turkey cutlets
1 leek
Heavy cream
Fresh sage
Sparkling wine or Champagne

Salad greens

We assume you have sugar cubes, bitters, butter, olive oil, an egg, flour, salt, pepper, white wine, and chicken broth. If not, you'll need those, too!

The Plan

1. The turkey cutlets need a little soaking and salting at the outset, which will be quite simple, but takes about 40 minutes. So, get that going first.

2. Once they're soaking, there's not a lot to do, so you might as well make that cocktail now, so you can sip while you cook! Just a suggestion, of course.

3. Prep the cutlets by dipping in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs.

4. Now is the moment to make that leek and sage butter, which you can set aside briefly while frying the cutlets.

5. Fry said cutlets until crisp and just cooked through. Serve with the herbed butter, a simple green salad, and whatever remains of your cocktail. Feast.

Photos by James Ransom