The Extra Step
As I'm getting things ready for Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, I'm realizing all these little steps of preparation that I'm putting into it and realizing at the same time that they're not really necessary.  The turkey could go straight from the fridge to the oven to get roasted and probably taste ok, but there are many little and easy steps that can be taken to make it taste great.

We're living in an exciting time to want to create excellent food.  A much wider variety of items are available to nearly everyone and the internet can provide the greatest cookbook ever created, along with videos demonstrating how to get them done.  If one has the desire, the tools are readily available.

For my Thanksgiving Day turkey, I start with creating a compound butter by placing 2 sticks of softened butter, the zest from 2 lemons, chopped fresh thyme, chopped fresh rosemary, and pinch or two of kosher salt into a food processor and blending for a few minutes.  The importance of fresh herbs versus dried herbs cannot be understated.  I then rinse the turkey well and pat dry with paper towels before coating with kosher salt and white pepper.  The next step is rubbing the compound butter all over and inside the turkey, especially pushing it as far under the skin as possible and wherever possible.  The butter will melt as the turkey cooks and will take the lemon and herb flavors into the meat.  I will then cut the zested lemons in half and place them inside the turkey with a couple of whole sprigs of rosemary.  I tuck the wings underneath so they don't burn, then place the turkey in the oven at 450 for 30 minute to brown the skin nicely.  The oven then goes to 350 for another hour and a half or until the deepest part of the breast is at 160 degrees.  I will place aluminum foil over the breast when the oven gets turned down to shield off some of the heat from drying out that white meat.

Those few extra steps with the lemon, herbs, and butter can lend themselves to some of the best turkey you will ever eat.  Place some onions, celery, and carrots in the roasting pan while the turkey roasts.  The drippings will be absorbed by the vegetables and afterwards slightly mashed and then strained to form the base for unbelievably good gravy.

Take the extra step.  You could create the best thing you've ever eaten.

penname   penname wrote
on 11/27/2008 7:45:23 PM
i tend to cook in such a disorganized, non directional way and somehow the method to that madness seems to spring forth not only suprise outcomes, but pretty delectible dishes. Chaotic rule breaking goes along way, and so does the lemon and herbs. I tried something similar and my turkey was magnifique! My personality loses it sometimes getting hung up in the details like walking into a cobweb and fighting my way out. But somehow with the mixing and mashing of concepts in the kitchen, it comes out great and its my guests that seem to find the meticulous details so intriguing that makes all the difference. Me, well I don't know anything about those details until the food is thrown together and done and ingested. Ahhh, your post here is wonderful...Tis some goooood gravy!

shakatoah   shakatoah wrote
on 11/27/2008 5:08:21 AM
The excellence is always in the details, isn't it? Something we tend to forget in today's world of instant gratification. You got my mouth watering for sure. Well said.

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Take the extra step. You could create the best thing you've ever eaten.