Lavender emits a wonderful aroma, which is great for an eye pillow, but also imparts a subtle, tangible flavor in cooking. Often used with honey or in desserts, lavender does not overpower turkey but enhances its richness and warmth. In this recipe, thyme and fennel seeds balance out the flavor profile so the turkey blossoms with herbs—lavender among them.
Dried herbs can transform any turkey into a very memorable one, with nominal effort. The herbs bring out the best in the turkey and sear right into the crisp skin, and though this recipe calls for fennel seeds and dried thyme, nearly any herb will work: try rosemary, marjoram, oregano, even paprika with good salt and olive oil.
- 1/2 cup dried lavender
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 2 tablespoon white peppercorns
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (12-lb.) fresh or frozen (thawed) turkey
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- In spice grinder, pulse lavender, salt, fennel, thyme, and peppercorns about 6 times, or until mixture is fine but not powdery.
- Rub oil over and under skin of turkey, then repeat with 6 tablespoons of the herb mixture.
- Roast turkey about 2 1/2 hours. Start checking for doneness during last 30 minutes of cooking. Turkey is done when temperature on meat thermometer, inserted into thickest part of thigh next to body (not touching bone), reaches 175° to 180°F and breast temperature reaches 165°F. (Internal temperature of turkey will rise 5° to 10°F upon standing.)