Local Chefs Dish On Their Favorite Recipes

Inspired chefs share Winning recipes for oysters, birds, veggies, sides, and cakes, so you can impress your own friends and family.


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Spatchcocked Thanksgiving Turkey

Chef: Samin Nosrat, Berkeley cooking teacher and a former Chez Panisse cook

Cookbook: Salt Fat Acid Heat

Inspiration for it: “Spatchcocking is a way to expedite the whole process. The less time the bird spends in the oven, the less dry and the better things will be. You’re spreading out the bird, so you get better browning and the skin is crisp.”

1 14- to 16-pound turkey

8 ounces (2 sticks) of butter, sliced lengthwise into 4 slices each

24 sage leaves

Salt (about 1⅓ teaspoons of fine sea salt or 2½ teaspoons kosher salt per pound of meat)


Two days before you plan to cook, spatchcock and season the bird. First, remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the bird. Reserve the neck for stock, and if you like, the giblets and liver for gravy or another use.

With heavy-duty kitchen shears, snip down along both sides of the spine (the underside of the bird) to remove it. You can start from the tail or neck end, whichever you prefer. Once you’ve removed the spine, reserve it for stock. Remove the wingtips and reserve them for stock, too.

Lay the turkey flat on the cutting board and push down on the breastbone until you hear a pop.

Press two or three sage leaves into each slice of butter.

Season the bird on both sides generously with salt, and, if you like, pepper.

Flip the bird over so it’s right side up and from the bottom of the breast, gently wedge your fingers in under the skin to separate the skin from the membrane which holds it to the meat. Work gently so as not to tear the skin.

Carefully slide 3 or 4 slices of butter, herb side up, under the skin over the breast. Replace the skin.

Place the turkey in a plastic bag and return to the fridge.

On the day you plan to cook the bird, remove it from the fridge 4 hours in advance to come up to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Place the bird, breast side up, in a large roasting pan on the bottom rack. After 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 375° F for another 45 minutes, turning the pan 180 degrees. Once the bird is golden brown, reduce the heat to 350° F and continue cooking until the juices at the thigh joint run clear (or the temperature registers at 160° F on a meat thermometer), about another 30-45 minutes.

Let rest, covered with foil, for 25 minutes before carving

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