Monday, July 16, 2012

All Hail the Turkey Neck

In spite of being wedded to a man who becomes giddy with excitement at the prospect of dining on the thymus gland of a young cow, The Folk Singer is (for the most part) an unadventurous eater. Over the past four years I have unsuccessfully attempted to convince her to eat tacos filled with soft chicharrónes, salty and rich sea urchin sushi, slow cooked trippa alla Romana, and spicy curried goat. Slowly but surely though I have been opening up her eyes to a world of deliciousness. Whereas she once vowed not to eat any animal which scores high on the "cute and cuddly" scale, she now will order lamb kabobs and or a wood roasted veal chop without hesitation.

But as I learned over the weekend, there are a few delicacies which are beyond the realm of possibility.
Biscuits and boiled turkey necks - breakfast of champions.
I have long believed that the best tasting food ever pulled from a crawfish pot is a turkey neck, and the downtown Rouse's has become my go to source for procuring this spicy treat almost year round without the hassle of firing up the propane burners. The kitchen crew at Rouse's knows that even though crawfish may not be in season, people still love to chow down on the potatoes, corn, and sausage that are de rigueur additions to every boil. So just about everyday the downtown Rouse's hosts its own little boil of accoutrements and package these up for purchase. Sometime they offer spicy boiled baby carrots and mushrooms, and on the weekends you can add turkey necks to the list of offerings.

It's nearly impossible for me to waltz by the boiled seafood station out Rouse's and pass up the opportunity to buy a package freshly boiled turkey necks. At about $2/lb, these may be the most affordable lunch option in the store. Turkey necks absorb the seasoned boil like a sponge, resulting in a stinging (but not overpowering) heat from cayenne pepper. The shreds of meat easily pull away from the bones as you perform your best Edward Cullen impersonation. The texture is not unlike beef debris but with a much richer flavor, like the morsels of veal which fall off the shank after a long braise in an osso bucco. I think they're incredible.

There's only one problem: TFS thinks that turkey necks are utterly revolting to the point where she has to evacuate to a different room while I am eating. I'll admit that the turkey neck is not the most photogenic of foods, but neither are sweetbreads, head cheese, or oxtails. (Wait, I am sensing a pattern here.) If Alon Shaya had decided that oxtails were too ugly to serve at Domenica, then the world would never know the wonder of his stracci and fried chicken livers dish. And that would be a very unfortunate occurrence.

So I say to hell with the beauty contest. Turkey necks may not be the prettiest of foods, but they are damn good eating. And that's what matters most. Who's with me?


The Folk Singer said...

You neglected to mention the most offending part of the turkey neck which is, without a doubt, the odor.

Celeste said...

Ooh, try using those crab-boiled turkey necks in a chicken gumbo...just a few will really liven things up.

Rene said...


The most disgusting smelling food in the world, and this is not up for debate, is canned tuna fish.

RBPoBoy said...

"Turkeyneck Morning" - a great nihilistic short story by Charles Bukowski

Melody said...

I actually cook these in a large gumbo pot on the stove just as you would for an outdoor boil. They were a huge hit for "The 4th".

Rohan2Reed said...

Love a good turkey neck. A good boil isn't complete without some.

Just a tip in regards to this:

"The shreds of meat easily pull away from the bones as you perform your best Edward Cullen impersonation."

.. The best way to eat a neck isn't to bite into it, but to break it in half and using a fork scrape the meat off length-wise.