Judy Rodgers of San Francisco's legendary Zuni Café shares a homey, modern holiday menu that includes an interesting stuffing and a turkey roasting technique designed to free up precious oven space.
In response to a listener's frantic email about how to get the Thanksgiving turkey and all the side dishes onto the table at the same time (with one oven and four burners), Lynne came to the rescue with advice and a do-ahead feast.
No matter how hard we may try to be ecumenical, my Italian heritage usually shows up at the table on this day.
Crisp, bronzed and fragrant, this turkey takes a mere ten minutes to the pound cutting the usual roasting time down by a third to a half. Steam from the white wine in the pan makes the skin especially good, and roasting on a rack of vegetables and apple gives you especially fine pan juices for gravy.
Fleshy outer escarole leaves, too tough for salad, make a delicious "what-is-this?" side dish. Slowly wilted, the sturdy leaves fall into gorgeous, satiny folds with a long, earthy, sweet flavor. Don't be tempted to use the pale escarole hearts—they usually turn brown and lack sweetness; save them for salads. Good with fish, poultry, pork, or beef.
From The Italian Country Table: Home Cooking from Italy's Farmhouse Kitchens by Lynne Rossetto Kasper (Scribner 1999). Copyright 1999 Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
I love this stuffing! It's warm, moist, soft, meaty, profound in flavor - all the good things. Who knew that taco shells could crumble up to make such a great dish? I do like to cook it outside the turkey, instead of inside the bird, to better control its cooking time. If you want a better flavor mingle between stuffing and bird, don't hesitate to dribble some turkey pan juices over the stuffing.
Adapted from A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider (Artisan, 2001). Copyright 2001 by Sally Schneider..
Every year we do our radio broadcast, Turkey Confidential, on Thanksgiving morning. Afterwards the entire crew packs up their family and come together to celebrate with our own potluck Thanksgiving dinner.