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Playing Citrus and Herb Spatchcock Turkey


  • 1 12- to 14-pound fresh or thawed frozen turkey
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lemons, cut into 3-4 slices
  • 2 oranges, cut into 3-4 slices
  • A handful each fresh flat-leaf parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, finely chopped


Serves: 8


For the turkey, place the bird on a cutting board, breast side down, with the legs toward you. Using kitchen shears, cut along each side of the backbone; remove. Open the turkey like a book and flip over,  spreading out on the board skin-side up. Using the palms of your hands, press firmly between the breasts to flatten. Tuck the wing tips under the breasts.

Place the turkey on a sheet tray and season the skin liberally with salt and pepper. Put in the refrigerator uncovered and chill for at least 24 hours, or up to 48 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and sauté lemon and orange slices until deeply browned on both sides. Arrange browned sliced citrus on a rack inside a roasting pan. 

Carefully loosen the skin from the turkey and place the chopped herbs between the skin and the meat.  Place the turkey on the citrus and put in the oven.

Roast the turkey for 20 minutes. Drop the oven temperature to 400°F. Roast in 15-minute increments, checking the temperature with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh until it registers 165 degrees.  Let rest at least 30 minutes before carving. Tilt the pan; spoon off the fat. Save the drippings for the gravy.