Given the choice of what to eat, W will always choose crunchy fried things and waffles. When he heard the two could be combined, he lost his mind a little and asked immediately if we could go out for brunch. But because I’m not a fan of getting dressed earlier than is absolutely necessary, nor of waiting in line for eggs and breakfast breads I could make myself, I convinced him I could do an acceptable job of it at home.
And so it came to be that we’ve had fried turkey and waffles approximately three times this week. It turns out they’re as well suited to dinner as brunch, but I like making them in the middle of a Saturday or Sunday, when everyone has had a chance to work up an appetite, but are still in the mood for something breakfasty. (I generally only cook one meal on weekend days, and we snack before and after.) When everyone is padding around the house in their slippers, it’s not a big deal to whisk up a batch of waffles and cut turkey breast into strips to dredge in seasoned flour for the crispiest, most golden turkey fingers ever.
If frying things makes you nervous, you may be pleasantly surprised—there’s no need for a deep fryer (I’ve owned one, and rarely used it), if you have a Dutch oven or other heavy, not too deep pot, use that, or even a deep skillet.
The Turkey Farmers of Canada asked me to come up with a few new recipes over the holiday season, and this turned out to be a great idea: cooked this way, turkey strips are juicy and delicious—perfect for this particular treatment. A single skinless, boneless turkey breast is just the right size for the three of us, and would feed four if one wasn’t a ravenous 6’2” 14 year old boy. Letting it sit in some buttermilk for a bit makes them even more tender and flavourful (you could add some garlic or spices to the buttermilk if you like, or use plain yogurt, thinned with water to the consistency of buttermilk), and I like to dredge them in flour, pressing as many of those moist bits to the surface as possible to create those rugged, crunchy chunks, before letting them sit on a wire rack for a bit before going into the hot oil. They’re fine to sit and dry out a bit, which takes the pressure out of the process.
You can then fry them in oil—I like canola, but rapeseed, sunflower or peanut oil works well too—and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to shower with salt while they’re still warm. And if you’re worried about timing the waffles, which also cook quickly, you could have them waiting in a warm oven, or quickly rewarm/crisp them up in the toaster as you’re ready for them. The hot honey (or maple syrup!) butter makes it—I always make lots, and if you double the recipe and keep leftovers in the fridge, it’s equally fab on straight-up turkey fingers with oven fries… there’s no need to make waffles every time.