Ingredient SpotLight

Thanksgiving gets us all thinking about turkey and now seems an excellent time to look at some of the great ways in which to use it, ranging from roasting for the big day to using all those leftovers. It's time to look past just Thanksgiving as the time to enjoy turkey and recognize its versatility all year round. This month, I share an Indian-spiced turkey for the big day and an oriental salad brimming with flavor. Enjoy!

Indian-Spiced Turkey

  • 1 (14- to 16-lb) turkey -- neck and giblets (excluding liver) reserved for turkey giblet stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (1 1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil plus additional for greasing pan
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Put the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.

Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat it dry. Mix the rub in a blender, by combining the remaining ingredients and processing it. Rub it evenly in the turkey cavities. Then rub it under the skin. Take a piece of plastic wrap and wrap it around your index finger. Use the plastic and your finger to separate the skin from the bird. Massage the rub under the skin as well. Fold the neck skin under the body and, if desired, secure it with a metal skewer, then tuck the wing tips under the breast and tie the drumsticks together with heavy kitchen string.

Put the turkey on a rack in a large flameproof roasting pan. Roast, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through roasting, until a thermometer inserted into the fleshy part of each thigh (close to but not touching bone) registers 170°F, 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 hours.

You can make a quick glaze of honey (or just sugar water) and toasted ground cumin. Towards the end of the bake, paint the glaze on the outside skin. Do this several times and you will get a nice spicy varnish to the skin that not only looks great, but tastes great too.

Carefully tilt the turkey so that the juices from inside the large cavity run into the roasting pan. Transfer the turkey to a platter (do not clean the roasting pan) and let it rest for 30 minutes (the temperature of thigh meat will rise to 180°F). Cut off and discard the string from the turkey.

Note: We don’t recommend this high-heat roasting method for turkeys weighing more than 16 pounds. However, for turkeys weighing less than 14 pounds, start checking the temperature earlier. If you only have a dark-colored metal roasting pan or your pan juices start to look very dark, add 1 cup of water to the roasting pan.

  • Yields: 8-12 servings
  • Preparation Time: about 3 hours

Turkey, Mandarin and Poppy Seed Salad

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 5 cups red leaf lettuce, washed, dried, chilled and torn
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, washed, dried, chilled and torn
  • 1/2 pound cooked turkey breast, cut into 1/2-inch julienne
  • 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
  • Orange Zest, as needed

In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, vinegar, poppy seeds, oil, mustard and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, spinach, turkey and oranges. Pour the dressing over the turkey mixture. Garnish with orange zest and serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour