Photo by Regina Charboneau
To try turkey and anchovies, click here for the recipe.
I know you are thinking, "How did she ever come up with anchovies on a turkey?" I have to be honest I have been looking through all my old books and recipes because I cannot remember the exact source, but I do remember the why and how.
Why? I was looking for something besides brining to create a moist, flavorful turkey.
How? At some point at least 20 years ago the idea of cooking a roast goose with anchovies was brought to my attention. The idea behind adding anchovies on top of this typically dry bird was that the salt and oil would baste the bird while cooking. This intrigued me. I cannot remember if it were a French cookbook or from Arlette my French friend and mentor.
Then... I decided to experiment with this concept, and I actually thought the mild flavor of turkey could handle the anchovies more than the wildness of a goose. I have been pleasantly surprised that it worked for both. When you cook the turkey they disintegrate and leave a design. The flavor they add to the gravy is magical. It is not a flavor that grabs you; it is subtle and so rich that you know it is better but you are not sure why. I have never had anyone identify the anchovies, but I have heard on many occasions, "This is the best turkey and gravy I have ever had." I do not want to come away too confident because I never asked where they had turkey in the past...it may have been at Thanksgiving with my mother's side of the family.