This recipe is part of Bon Appétit's Thanksgiving menu, which includes: Spatchcocked Turkey with Anise and Orange, Rich Turkey Gravy, Brussels Sprout Leaves with Chorizo and Toasted Almonds, and Extra-Buttery Mashed Potatoes.
Most butchers will remove the backbone for you. Lots of guests? Roast two 12-14-pounders; spatchcocking anything larger will be harder and takes longer.
- 5 teaspoons aniseed
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup finely grated orange zest, plus 4 wide strips orange zest
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary, sprig reserved
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, sprigs reserved
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 12-14-lb. turkey (neck, giblets, and backbone removed and reserved)
- 2 medium onions, quartered
- 4 large carrots, peeled, halved
- 4 celery stalks
- 3 heads garlic, halved
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Toast aniseed in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool; finely grind in a spice mill or a mortar and pestle. (Alternatively, chop with a knife.)
Finely chop salt, grated zest, sugar, chopped rosemary, thyme leaves, pepper, and 4 tsp. aniseed in a food processor.
Place turkey, skin side down, on a cutting board. Use a knife to score down long oblong bone in the center of breast. Turn skin side up and press down on breastbone to flatten. You should hear a crack and feel the bones give way. Rub all over with salt mixture; place turkey, skin side up, on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and chill, uncovered, 6-18 hours.
Preheat oven to 450°. Arrange onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme and rosemary sprigs in a roasting pan. Rinse turkey, pat dry, and place, skin side up, on top of vegetables; let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil, orange zest strips, and remaining aniseed in a small saucepan until oil is sizzling, about 2 minutes; let cool slightly.
Brush turkey with oil, add 1/2 cup water to pan, and roast turkey 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue to roast, brushing with oil every 20 minutes, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°, about 1 hour longer. Transfer to a platter; tent with foil and let rest at least 30 minutes before carving.
(Photo: Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott)