Don’t let your turkey sit on a platter naked and alone. It isn’t polite and it will never get you nominated for the entertaining hall of fame. (Oh. There isn’t one? Well, there should be!) The majestic presence of a properly plated turkey can serve as the focal point for a festive Thanksgiving table. You will be the secondary attraction, but isn’t it lovely to let someone/something else shine?
Of course, I don’t limit turkey consumption to Thanksgiving or other major holidays, but it certainly is a staple at our annual turkey day feast.
Again, I implore you: Never, never, never let your turkey sit on a platter naked. It’s probably illegal in most states, plus it’s just wrong. Accessorize your birds with appropriate garnishes to achieve truly terrific-looking turkeys.
How many people own the same boring, white ironstone platter with the raised turkey image on it? [Raising my hand.] I think of all those sad, years when I simply positioned the turkey, all by its lonesome, on that plain white platter and called it good. EEK. The platter is fine and the right size, but see how exquisite it looks when adorned properly with lots of sage leaves, three colors of grapes, a couple of roasted onion halves, orange slices (although have you noticed that oranges aren’t as orange as they used to be?) and slices of pomegranates. It also helped that the tablecloth the platter is nesting on is a beautiful silk fall brocade. If I could do it over again, I would have smeared butter on the top of the turkey while cooking to ensure the divinely brown roasted color that is ideal.
Herbs like sage, parsley, or rosemary add a dash of green. Fruits like figs cut in half, clusters of grapes, pomegranate halves, orange slices work well. Those cute little kumquats can play, too. Above, you’ll see carrot flowers made with the grande curler, and I think elsewhere on the plate there were others made with daikon radishes. The hard part is getting the nibblers to keep their hands off!
This actually isn’t the above turkey’s best “side” – but I wanted to illustrate to you the importance of filling the cavity with lovely things. If you aren’t going to actually stuff the turkey with some kind of stuffing, stuff it with onions, celery, citrus, then dress it up a little more after it has been cooked.
Cooked artichoke halves are another option for adorning your platter This beast was smoked by Michael and I assure you it looked like this for just a few short minutes before it was nothing but a pile of bones. Just as it should be.
This is the “other” end of one of the turkeys pictured above. I notice something that provides a teachable moment. My sage leaves had gone limp. Horrors! Put the stems of your herbs into a small vase with water until it is time to use them. Add them to the plate at the last minute for a divinely fresh-picked look.
This year, get YOUR gobble on!