Crispy Fried Morel Mushrooms and Turkey Fingers
Some foods just go together, peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, and, according to Forrest Gump, peas and carrots. You can add wild turkey and morel mushrooms to the list. Since prime mushroom season seems to coincide with turkey season in much of the Midwest, it just makes sense to eat them together. It just so happens that the same cooking method works for both items as well. It is hard to beat a plate full of fried mushrooms and turkey breast strips.
Wild turkey benefits from an overnight soak in a simple brine to make the breast strips juicier. My go to brine for all things fowl consists of four cups of water, ¾ cup of salt and a half cup of brown sugar. If you need more liquid to cover, say a whole turkey, simply double the recipe. Allow the turkey to soak, refrigerated, anywhere from four to eight hours.
This recipe combines a batter made with flour and cornstarch with an outer coating of panko bread crumbs for an extremely crunchy final product. The frying medium is up to you, vegetable oil, shortening, lard or any combination of the three will work. Make sure your oil is between 325 and 350 degrees to quickly form a crunchy exterior and prevent the food from soaking up excess oil.
Brined turkey breast, cut, across the grain, into 1-inch strips
Morel mushrooms, sliced in half lengthwise
The method is the same for both the turkey and the mushrooms. Dip in the batter, let the excess batter drain back into the bowl, then lightly toss in breadcrumbs and drop into the hot oil. I normally run two pans at a time so that everything finishes together. For the turkey, I use about 1/2 an inch of oil or grease in a cast iron skillet. I normally deep fry the mushrooms in a larger pot in 1 to 2 inches of oil or grease.
For the mushrooms, I batter, then coat in breadcrumbs, then drop into the hot oil one at a time. The mushrooms will only take a few minutes. As soon as they float and turn golden brown, lift them out with a wire spider and drain well before transferring to the warm plate or pan. If the extra crunchiness of the breadcrumb coating seems to be a bit much for your mushroom preference, try frying a few in the batter alone.