Butterflied Roast Turkey with Winter Panzanella


This is a quicker method to cook a turkey.  It is also great with chicken.  You get all the benefits of roasting a stuffed bird, but without the hassle of having to stuff it and then dig it out!

Butterflied Roast Turkey with Winter Panzanella

Ingredients

  • 8 to 12 pound turkey
  • salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds country style bread (1 large loaf)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced thin
  • 6 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomato packed in oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic cloves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh chopped parsley or basil

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.

To prepare the turkey:  Place it breast side down on a cutting board and cut out the back bone with kitchen shears.  Turn the bird over and press down on the breast to flatten.  Loosen the skin from the flesh, but do not remove; season under the skin with salt and pepper, then distribute the sage under the skin.  Rub all over with about 1/4 cup oil and season with more salt and pepper.

To prepare the panzanella:  Cut bread into large cubes and drop into a roasting pan; add onions, celery, tomatoes, garlic, and thyme.  Season panzanella with salt and pepper, then drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil, toss; if mixture looks dry, drizzle with a little more oil.  Spread the mixture around the roasting pan, then place the turkey on top, breast side up.

Roast 30 minutes, then adjust temperature so that everything is sizzlling, but does not burn; if bread starts to burn, sprinkle with a few drops of the vinegar.

Turkey should be done in about 1 hour; internal meat thermometer should register 165 degrees F in the thigh or breast.  Remove turkey to a cutting board or serving platter; wait 15 minutes before carving. 

Toss panzanella with parsley or basil, and remaining vinegar; adjust seasonings.  If you’d like the panzanella more crusty, put it back in the oven while the turkey rests.

Carve turkey and serve panzanella on the side.

Serves 10-12.