This succulent turkey starts out with an easy marinade of fresh herbs, oil and lemon. Next, it marinates for 24 hours and is then roasted, breast-side-down for extra juiciness. The best part? It’s super easy to make! Toasted bread salad is a lighter, earthier version of stuffing. Rather than being soggy, it has an irresistible, chewy texture a bit of crunch from toasted hazelnuts, and a bit of sweetness from dried currants. Make it vegan by substituting veggie broth for pan drippings.
For the Turkey:
- 1 18-24lb. turkey, thawed, rinsed, and patted dry. (It can take up to 5 days for a turkey to completely thaw in the fridge, so plan accordingly!)
- 2 C. fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 C. fresh dill, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 C. fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/4 C. fresh thyme leaves (a few stems are ok)
- 1/2 C. fresh marjoram leaves
- zest of 2 lemons
- 3 t. salt
- 1 t. pepper
- 1/2 C. olive oil
Prepare the turkey for the marinade by rinsing it all over with cold water and then patting it dry with paper towels, inside and out. Combine all the herbs, salt, pepper, and oil in the food processor and pulse it into a pesto-like consistency.
Use your hands to loosen and lift the skin that covers the breast and legs of the turkey. Rub the marinade all over the turkey, under the skin, inside the cavity, top and bottom. Use up all the marinade.
Place some of the herb stems, or any extra herbs you have, and the zested lemons, cut in half, into the cavity of the turkey. Cover the turkey tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge overnight. Bring the turkey out of the fridge one hour before roasting to bring it to room temperature.
Wipe the excess marinade off the top of the turkey so it doesn’t burn. Place the turkey, breast-side up, in a roasting pan with a v-shaped rack. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cross the legs one over the other and secure them with twine. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Turn the turkey completely over, breast-side down. Continue roasting for another 2-3 hours, depending on the size of your bird. The temperature of the breast should be about 165 degrees. The problem is, that the turkey will continue to cook for twenty to thirty minutes after it comes out of the oven, so I usually take it out of the oven when the temperature is at 155 degrees. (please follow USDA guidelines if you feel more comfortable) When the turkey is done the legs will be pulling apart from the bird and the juices will run clear. Let the turkey rest, covered in foil for at least 1 hour before carving. Reserve the pan drippings for the bread salad.
For the Toasted Bread Salad:
- 1 loaf of crusty Italian or French bread, day old
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 C. dried currants
- 1 1/2 C. celery, chopped
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 T. dried sage
- 1/4 C. marsala or sherry
- 1/2 C. hazelnuts
- 1/2 C. turkey pan drippings or veggie broth
- 1/4 C. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3-4 C. fresh baby arugula
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice off most of the crust of the loaf of bread, then tear it into bite-sized chunks. Place the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the bread is toasted but still chewy, about ten minutes.
Cover the currants with hot water to soak and plump while you cook the veggies. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the celery, onion, and shallot until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook one minute longer. Stir in the marsala and cook until the liquid evaporates, about two or three minutes. Remove from heat and place the veggies into a large bowl. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan until they begin to release their oils and start to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and coarsely chop. Toss the bread with the veggies, nuts, drained currants and arugula. Pour the pan drippings and lemon juice over the bread and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning. Pack the mixture into a baking dish. Give it one more drizzle of olive oil. Bake until heated through and toasted and golden brown on top, about 15-20 minutes.